Does Sibling Rivalry Ever End?
As kids, sibling rivalry often ends up at odds with one another. However, for some, there is always fighting.
Roseanne says she and her nearly three-years-younger twin brothers often fought when they were kids.
Sibling Rivalry; It was “Always Two Versus One,
” Roseanne, a 46-year-old mother from New Jersey, US, puts it. “They were very much a duo, their team.” She claims that some of the tensions she experienced as a youngster persists into adulthood. They are different from one another. It was like we were living on other planets, contributing to the current tension between me and my two offspring.
Roseanne’s children, a son, now 16, and a daughter, now 14, have been at each other’s throats since kindergarten. She complains that the constant fighting is draining her energy. We’ve put off doing things as a family for a long time now because we don’t want to hear it. We can only go up to ten minutes without firing shots over the dinner table. They’re always concerned about one another, making remarks and trying to get under each other’s skin.
Sibling Rivalry is Common.
Of course, they do; sibling rivalry is a fact that most people can attest to.
Children are far less able to think critically about their emotions than adults and control their behaviour when disturbed. We all know that they fight a lot, so it’s no surprise,” says Dr Raymond Raad, who helped establish the RIVIA Mind mental health centre in New York City.
Sibling rivalry is often a formative experience in many households. It improves children’s dispute-resolution skills and social abilities. As adults, some people find sibling rivalry to be amusing fodder for family get-togethers.
Nonetheless, It Remains a Problem For Some.
More than half of respondents to a UK survey conducted to promote the TV drama Succession (in which siblings always attempt to outdo each other) said they still feel competitive with their siblings.
Fifty-one per cent of these individuals say they have an enduring, competitive connection with their siblings and compete with one another over everything from home ownership to hosting family get-togethers. As several analysts have noted, these battles drag on forever.
At a young age, sibling rivalry may appear normal. Many people, like Roseanne, continue to experience the tension even after leaving the home they shared with their siblings.
Can we ever move past this lingering rivalry, and why does it persist?
According to The Prof. Shawn D.
Whitehead of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Utah State University states, “As humans, we’re motivated towards comparison.” Comparing oneself to one’s sibling is a typical human tendency. They share your home and upbringing and are typically only a few years younger than you. They live in the same conditions and house, so we can use them as a benchmark.
Sibling rivalry is common in many contexts, including comparisons of academic or athletic achievement and claims of “favourite” status, because children from the same family tend to share common experiences (like attending the same schools). When children are close in age, competition can get particularly heated.
According to Raad,
Sibling rivalry is often fueled by our inherent need to compare ourselves to others, exacerbated by the fact that our siblings often spend the most time with and, thus, know the most about.
The need for equality between siblings isn’t something that kids “grow out of.”
Sibling rivalry is ‘normal,’ especially when people in the same family share the same home and interests. Even when they’re not participating in the same events, siblings can’t help but find ways to show each other who’s the best.
As Whitehead points out, some siblings, especially those quite close in age, will go to great lengths to set themselves apart from one another to lessen the intensity of sibling rivalry. To paraphrase what Whitehead says: “
That would, in theory, diminish rivalry,” but “the research is mixed.” That fits with what Roseanne has seen in her own family and with her children, where she has found that differences are a significant source of friction.
Roseanne’s Daughter Excels in the Athletic Realm
While her son has a head for books. Roseanne claims that she and her daughter had been at odds since her daughter realized she would have to put in significantly more effort to keep up her grades. Roseanne adds, “My son has had numerous teachers and even some family members comment on how smart he is.” That’s a sore spot for my kid, I know.
Adolescence is when “parents or school or sports environments instil an assumption that everything’s a competition,” as Raad puts it.
When brothers and sisters grow up in the same house but become completely different people, competitiveness and conflict might arise because of their upbringing in the same family. However, Raad argues that “it doesn’t mean they won’t dispute over things later in life,” even if their futures turn out differently.
The Principle of Fairness
Whitehead argues that justice is essential to youngsters and is a significant cause of sibling rivalry.
He adds that parents are more prone to give their younger children special privileges than their older ones. “When [parents] say to a 12-year-old, ‘you can stay up till 10,’ the 10-year-old might also get to do it because [parents] don’t want to quarrel,” says author John Grogan. The older sibling may feel wronged if the younger one is granted permission before they were. That makes for tension,” Whitehead chimes in.
Competition Between Siblings Can Persist Throughout Adulthood, Even When Each Sibling Has Developed a Distinct Identity. Photographer: Getty Images )
And it turns out that siblings don’t necessarily “grow out” of the desire for fairness; instead, Raad argues that it remains a component that can drive sibling rivalry into adulthood.
“There seems to be an implicit assumption that we come from the same location and family. Therefore it’s only fair that we’re similar and on par,” he says of people who are at odds. Problems develop when one sibling believes that they are the victim of injustice. One is seen as more attractive, intelligent, and successful than the other, making the different feel like they’ve been the recipients of an unfair share of genetic resources.
Raad Explains That
This concern for justice among siblings extends into adulthood and affects financial stability, marital satisfaction, and other life outcomes. “There’s this concept that siblings come from the same background, so something should be fair about where they end up,” the author writes. “With friends, you can say, ‘Oh, we’re so different. We come from such different places.’
However, healthy competition might be good for adult siblings. OnePoll found that 26% of siblings compete with one another regarding job aspirations, and 15% of those same siblings cited sibling rivalry as a source of motivation. Almost 20% of adults say they have been motivated to succeed by the benefits of healthy sibling rivalry. A little healthy rivalry is exactly what the doctor ordered.
To Be Sure, Sibling Rivalry Isn’t Inevitable;
In fact, it’s quite rare. Many people find that their fighting diminishes as they get older. All the experts believe there isn’t one clear explanation for why some families outgrow sibling rivalry while others never do.
Whitehead states, “The best predictor of your adult relationship is the one you had as a child, but there is also room for improvement.” According to him, the intensity of a rivalry can decrease with distance, so if two siblings end up living in different parts of the country or don’t see each other very often, it’s only logical that they would bicker less frequently.
Your childhood relationship is the best indicator of how your adult relationships will go, but both can evolve.
He Also Noted That;
He also notes that the frequency of major changes within a family can impact sibling rivalry. Whenever there is a major event, things tend to shift. Someone new enters the world daily, and someone old leaves this one. All of those things can aid in re-establishing connections. Big events that unite siblings can be a powerful force for healing rifts within families.
Whitehead argues that personality is the deciding factor in whether or not a family can move on. His statement that “there are often just as many distinctions inside families as there are between them” indicates the complexity of the brother bond.
Researchers have found that parental guidance can help protect children from the harmful effects of sibling rivalry. Raad argues that parents should be role models by demonstrating effective problem-solving and social interaction. “Conflict can be beneficial in the home, but showing your children how to resolve disagreements peacefully will benefit them in their relationships.”
The Results of Encouraging Siblings to Maintain Strong Connections into Adulthood,
Despite the inevitable disagreements that will arise, they can be profound. Whitehead claims that these kinds of friendships last a lifetime. By the time we reach adulthood, we realize just how much we cherish our sibling relationships. If our parents pass away simultaneously, they will be the final living link to our ancestral past. Siblings are the only ones left in the world.
“There was a lot of conflict between myself and my brothers in our house,” recalls Roseanne. Though it took a long time, I am now close to at least one of my brothers. I enjoy spending time with him at family gatherings, texting, and chatting about my mom and other related topics.
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