Sibling Rivalry

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Sibling Rivalry is the jealousy, competition, and fighting between brothers and sister which can show itself in practically every child’s family. Fights if unmanaged can lead to serious cases such as the permanent enmity between adult siblings. In nature there are extreme cases of sibling rivalry. For example, as baby sharks develop within the mother’s womb, one of the sharks usually the biggest one devours the others, ensuring for himself all of the available food resources when the shark is born. In human families it is not that extreme, but there still is competition. The resources being fought for are the love, approval, time, and attention of the parents (Boyle). Understanding how sibling rivalry occurs can help parents learn to minimize and manage the fighting. A big factor in the development of sibling rivalry is the change in status in the family. This effects the parent’s approval and/or attention. Bring home a new child is not only a major change for the parents but, also for the current child. The eldest child at the time before the birth of the second child has all attention and the oldest child’s routine is disturbed in the process. The eldest must learn to share the parent resources with the newcomer. A normal reaction is anger and anxiety. (Boyle) As the younger child grows the siblings is confronted with the hostility from the older sibling. The younger sibling is often confused as to why this other character is angry. When the children grow up the younger child learns how to deal with the older child’s meanness (Boyle). Most psychologists compare the arrival of a new child for the eldest, as if the husband went out and got another wife, but said he still loves the first wife and wants them to live together. When the siblings are growing up each is discovering a place in the family, i.e. jokester, brains, athletic, etc… The siblings are also doing this, not only because of the need for identity, but also for receiving praise or...
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