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The Positivity Of Sibling Rivalry

sibling rivalry

Siblings play fighting. | Photo Freepik

“A sibling in full spate is always frightening, their anger a surprising powerful defense, their deeper impotence equally powerful, absurd.” ― Will Eaves, Murmur

For centuries, we have been told how bad it is for siblings to be at loggerheads with each other. We have heard of the ills, the cons, the bad and the evil that comes with sibling rivalry. One reminder of Cain and Abel and suddenly children fighting is an indication to the parents of impending doom. A


little peek at Google reveals that Sibling Rivalry is when a competition ensues amongst siblings, blood-related or not. The hate may stem from special treatment by the parents, personality, experience outside the family and intellectual prowess. It spans throughout childhood and into adulthood, changes family relationships and even goes on to further dent how each child relates in their lives. However, what we do not know is that with most things that are considered evil and malicious, there is an angle of truth and positivity to it. A Cambridge study reveals that our siblings and the siblings of our children are not there only to annoy or cause problems. They are, in fact, benefiting each one of us along the way. Moreso, sibling rivalry can be used very effectively. Without excessive comparison of siblings, the relations among siblings can become friendlier. Another advantage is that in a healthy environment, siblings support each other.

Sibling Rivalry can very well have some positive impact on the children and we are here to walk you through them.


Siblings | Photo iStock


Children who grow up in households where they had a robust argument with either of their siblings were privy to information that many children did not need to know of till a certain age. Parents are forced to say things, discuss matters of thoughts and feelings to help pacify situations and children being naturally inquisitive are laden with questions, which leads to more opening up and more explanations on the human mind and positivity of the human interaction among siblings. Children learn empathy and how to better listen from that.


Children who pick on each other at home are more likely to have each other’s back in public. An elder sibling is more than not, able to step in to save a younger sibling from being bullied or beaten up, even though that does not stop them from going head-to-head the moment they are home because the older one just made the basketball team and the younger one cannot shoot hoops or the younger one is a straight A honour student and the older is barely making it through. Sibling Rivalry in a healthy environment provides each sibling with the support of each other, which may be for some family-oriented children, hard to find outside of the family. No matter how much each sibling fights, they always often find each other emulating something from the other, or coming to the other for help.


Healthy Sibling Rivalry makes children work harder to improve their skills, to be just as good as their siblings. With that, they learn to value other people’s prospectives, negotiate, and control aggressive behaviour as well as identify it. They learn conflict resolution and how to deal with it in a civilised way. And with all those years of experience, who is better equipped on how to avoid terrible situations? Siblings learn early just how the world is by living in a home with their siblings with excessive skills, and differences. They learn about the many inequities of life from their adolescent ages. They also learn self-control, which is an essential skill to help navigate life as we know it.

Sibling Rivalry is the least discussed topic in child-raising seeing that it is part of every family where there is more than one child. Sibling Rivalry is significant in moulding children. How a person will act as an adult, who a person grows to become, is seen in all of his relationships with his siblings. Your role as a parent is to teach your children how to function as an adult. Parents should use how their children relate to each other as a tool so they can learn to relate to others in the future, effectively. However, when it becomes violent and a pattern of destructible behaviour ensues, that is not chagrin for a positive future as it is no longer and fascinating. Therapy is and must be introduced with immediate effect.

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