The Growing of Siblings Rivalry
In Communication Skills II
Prof. Zenaida T. Miranda
Jean Chel P. Javier
According to Stopani (2002), “Sibling conflict is as old as Cain and Abel, as legendary as Cinderella and her stepsisters and can be as deadly as the daughters of King Lear. Parents should know the battles are inevitable and must prepare their kids to defuse potentially ugly situations.” Sibling rivalry is a type of competition or animosity among siblings. It is a concern for almost all parents of two or more kids. Problems often start right after the birth of the second child. Sibling rivalry usually continues throughout childhood and can be very frustrating and stressful to parents. Sibling rivalry is an emotionally damaging problem that can affect not only the relationship of the siblings involved but their work and romantic lives as well. It creates a set of manners and reactions to a situation that will ultimately be applied to all walks of life if not fixed. Rimm (1999) acknowledge that, “It is particularly intense when children are very close in age and of the same gender, or where one child is intellectually gifted.” It results from a predictable, normal, and healthy response of an older child to the birth of a new brother or sister, because the older child feels threatened by the new member of the family. Sibling relationships are training for living in a world of diversity. Though born of the same parents, siblings often differ from one another widely in temperament, personality, tastes, preferences, talents, and even political leanings. Learning to resolve these differences provides training in tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness. Failure to do so, however, results in rivalries that threaten to destroy the harmony of the family, create a toxic social environment, and when unchecked may lead to violence and tragedy. (http://www.angelfire.com/md/imsystem/sibriv1). Origin of Sibling Rivalry
Sibling rivalry is one of humanity's oldest problems. One of the first stories in the Bible (the oldest book in Western civilization, and the story of the ancient Jewish culture) deals with the rivalry between two brothers, Cain and Abel. The older brother, Cain, was irritated at constantly having to help take care of his 4
younger brother, Abel, and kept asking his parents: "Am I my brother's keeper?" The story of these two brothers has a tragic ending; Cain becomes so angry that he kills Abel (and this, according to the Bible, was the first murder in history). The fact that this is one of the first stories within the Bible shows the great importance given to the problem of sibling rivalry within the Jewish culture. It isn't difficult to find the root cause of sibling rivalry. Nature offers us many similar examples. The problem is basically one of competition for limited or scarce resources. In nature, the competition is usually for food; whenever there are two individuals or species that consume the same type of food in the same area (or habitat) they will fight with each other until one of them manages to kill or drive the other out, leaving the winner with the exclusive use of the food resources available in that area. In nature there are some extreme cases of sibling rivalry. For example, as baby sharks develop within the mother shark's womb, the biggest baby shark devours all of his brothers and sisters, ensuring for himself all of the available food resources. In another example, eagles make their nests at great heights, in mountains or trees. The first baby eaglet that is born kills all his sibling eaglets by pushing them out from the nest as they come out of their eggs. That way all the food that the mother eagle brings will be only for him. According to Cohen (2000), “Sibling rivalry is a fact of life. It was not the result of man's separation from God....