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Sibling Rivalry

By paperjean May 25, 2013 4316 Words
National College of Business and Arts (Fairview)
Quezon City

The Growing of Siblings Rivalry

Research Paper
In Communication Skills II

Submitted to:
Prof. Zenaida T. Miranda

Jean Chel P. Javier

Sibling Rivalry
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. ( 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. Cain and Abel both wanted approval, recognition and praise from God and their parents. They were competing with their offerings. This desire for attention and approval was not evil. Cain's feeling of rejection ultimately led him to murder his brother. Evil prevailed when he chose to wrongly act on his resentful and jealous feelings. But these feelings can be resolved, as demonstrated with Esau and Jacob. Jacob was able to win his brother's heart on his return to Harare. It is not wrong for our children to vie for our attention and love. It is a natural desire, instilled by God! The real challenge for a parent is not to try to eliminate rivalry, but to keep it within healthy and constructive bounds.”  ( 5

Causes of Sibling Rivalry
It is one of the most basic emotions a person can feel. Everyone struggles with it, no matter how old they are or how well their lives seem to be going. When we're feeling jealous of a sibling, we're angry at him or her for doing or having something that we don't, and we're frustrated with ourselves for not being able to do or have that thing. We feel like the easiest way to get out our anger and frustration is to FIGHT with that sibling...and, as you probably know, it usually makes things worse.  It is natural that a toddler or preschool child is jealous when a new baby is born. It can lead to continued jealousy on the part of the older sibling as time goes on. This jealousy can increase when the siblings find that their younger ones are more cared. They are jealousy of each other and throw tantrums whenever they feel jealousy. Children may feel their relationship with their parents is threatened by the arrival of a new baby.  It is when a child may feel that they are not getting equal amounts of parental attention. Siblings may become jealous of an older sibling because he is allowed more privileges than the younger children. Any number of other things can cause jealousy between siblings, as well, which can lead to sibling rivalry. ( Evolving Needs 

It's natural for kids' changing needs, anxieties, and identities to affect how they relate to one another. For example, toddlers are naturally protective of their toys and belongings, and are learning to assert their will, which they'll do at every turn. So if a baby brother or sister picks up the toddler's toy, the older child may react aggressively. School-age kids often have a strong concept of fairness and equality so might not understand why siblings of other ages are treated differently or feel like one child gets preferential 6

treatment. Teenagers, on the other hand, are developing a sense of individuality and independence, and might resent helping with household responsibilities, taking care of younger siblings, or even having to spend time together. All of these differences can influence the way kids fight with one another. ( Individual Temperaments

Your kids' individual temperaments — including mood, disposition, and adaptability — and their unique personalities play a large role in how well they get along. For example, if one child is laid back and another is easily rattled, they may often get into it. Similarly, a child who is especially clingy and drawn to parents for comfort and love might be resented by siblings who see this and want the same amount of attention. ( Role Models

The way that parents resolve problems and disagreements sets a strong example for kids. So if you and your spouse work through conflicts in a way that's respectful, productive, and not aggressive, you increase the chances that your children will adopt those tactics when they run into problems with one another. If your kids see you routinely shout, slam doors, and loudly argue when you have problems, they're likely to pick up those bad habits themselves. ( Comparison

In other times, an adult may not even realize he or she is comparing you to your sibling. When you hear those comparisons over and over, it can really sting. You may even start doing the very thing you're 7

being criticized for, like making bad grades or being messy, because it gets you noticed! The bottom line is this: comparing two different kids can be like comparing apples and oranges. We may be in the same family, but that doesn't mean we like the same foods, read the same books, or have the same talents. So, it makes sense that our siblings are going to be better at some things than we are. Each child feels he is unique and rightly so-he is unique, and he resents being evaluated only in relation to someone else. Instead of comparison, each child in the family should be given his own goals and levels of expectation that relate only to him. Don’t dismiss or suppress your children’s resentment or angry feelings. Contrary to what many people think, anger is not something we should try to avoid at all costs. ( Attention and Approval

 Children are always vying for their parents' attention. The busier the parents are, the greater demand is for their attention and the less they can focus on each child. When there’s a new baby, it can be hard for the other child (or children) to accept losing his or her position as the centre of attention. Sometimes, the parents' attention is focused on a child who is sick or has special needs (for example, because of a learning disability). Kids will act out and misbehave to get the attention they want if they feel like they’re being ignored. Unlike food, love shouldn't run out. In a perfect world, adults should be able to give an endless supply of love to the children they're caring for. Sometimes, though, what matters is not how much love they’re giving, but how they're showing it. The two most important ways for a parent or guardian to show love for a child are: 1. ATTENTION: The amount of time a parent can spend with you, and the quality of that time.

2. APPROVAL: The appreciation, happiness, or pride an adult shows towards what you do. Someone can do this through words of praise, like saying "Great job!" or by giving gifts like toys, clothes, money, or special freedoms. You are an individual. You're not exactly the same person as your brother or sister. Because of this, the adults in your family may give different kinds of attention and approval to different siblings. ( Playing Favourites

One of the most precious resources that siblings fight about is their parents' love and approval. If parents show favouritism toward a child, they can harm and even destroy sibling relationships. Researchers say that some genetic factors may make the parents favour one of their children which results in child rivalry what we see in the story of Jacob in the Old Testament. In such circumstances even if the parents try not to show it, the children will always know who the favourite is. When they come to know that they are not the favourite they are easily provoked to rivalry.  If our parents make it obvious that they really like something about our bro or sis, it can seem as if they like that child better...especially if you're feeling not-so-sure of their love for you. It's much easier to take out our anger on another kid than an adult, so although we may feel angry with our siblings for getting treated better, in reality, we're really just mad at our parents because we think they're playing favourites. Sometimes, what seems like favouritism really just loves recognition. ( Fair and Equal

There's a big, important difference between "equal" and "fair." It's impossible for parents to treat each child absolutely equally, and it wouldn't be right even if they could. Parents treat us differently 9

because we are different. Maybe your sister is getting seconds on ice cream because she needs to put on a little weight. Maybe your brother got an extra pair of sneakers because he wears them out faster. Each kid's needs and wants are unique, and what matters is that your family is doing their best to give fair treatment. If you feel that this isn't the case, bring up your concerns with a trusted adult.  Children are like little lawyers, always demanding fairness and equality and fighting for what they perceive are their natural-born rights. A younger sibling might complain that her older sister gets to go to a concert and she has to stay home, while the older sister whines that she has to babysit for her little sister instead of going out with her friends. Feelings of unfair treatment and sibling jealousy can lead to resentment. (

Effects of Sibling Rivalry
Siblings might become violent, causing injury to themselves or to others. Siblings might cause other sorts of severe problems. When this happens, or if you think it is about to happen, you might consider family counselling. By working with a family therapist or counsellor, you may be able to reduce the negative effects of sibling rivalry, as well as reduce the overall incidence of sibling rivalry and its severity. (

The Way Child sees Himself/Herself
Sibling rivalry can also affect the way that a child sees himself or herself. In many cases, sibling rivalry is caused by jealousy. One child may believe that another child receives more time, attention, and 10

even love than they do. This jealousy, which gives rise to sibling rivalry, can also cause the child to feel less valuable or less loved than their sibling. By making sure that all of your children are loved, that all of their needs are met, and that each of them gets some special individualized time and attention, you can avoid some of these negative effects of sibling rivalry. ( Stress

One of the possible negative effects of sibling rivalry is a household that, overall, has a much higher level of tension than others. If children are constantly bickering with their siblings, the parents are bound to feel the stress. Arguments and fights among two siblings will greatly affect any other siblings as well, even if they are not directly involved in the sibling rivalry. ( Distraction of Marriage

Sibling rivalry can also negatively affect a marriage. Siblings may often bring their parents into a dispute, and find that one parent is siding with one child, while the other parent is siding with the other child. By communicating with your spouse and making sure that you present a unified position, you can reduce some of the negative effects of sibling rivalry on your marriage. And sometimes it can lead in the distraction of marriage. ( Handling of Sibling Rivalry

Don’t Make Comparisons
Whatever you want to say to your child, stick to whatever the issue is with that particular child's behaviour. Describe what you want done, what you like, what you dislike. Avoid reference to their sibling. Remember even favourable comparisons can be unhelpful - they inevitably involve putting one child down 11

and put the favourably compared child in an uncomfortable position of living up to a positive label. ( Don't Get Involved
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Whenever possible, don't get involved. Step in only if there's a danger of physical harm. If you always intervene, you risk creating other problems. The kids may start expecting your help and wait for you to come to the rescue rather than learning to work out the problems on their own. There's also the risk that you — inadvertently — make it appear to one child that another is always being "protected," which could foster even more resentment. By the same token, rescued kids may feel that they can get away with more because they're always being "saved" by a parent. If you're concerned by the language used or name-calling, it's appropriate to "coach" kids through what they're feeling by using appropriate words. This is different from intervening or stepping in and separating the kids. Even then, encourage them to resolve the crisis themselves. If you do step in, try to resolve problems with your kids, not for them. ( Be There For Each Child

Set aside “alone time” for each child, if possible.  Each parent should try to spend some one-on-one with each kid on a regular basis.  Try to get in at least a few minutes each day.  It’s amazing how much even 10 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time can mean to your child. When you are alone with each child, you may want to ask them once in a while what  are some of the positive things their brother or sister does that they really like and what are some of the things they do that might bother them or make them mad. This will help you keep tabs on their relationships, and also remind you that they probably do have some positive feelings for each other! Listen—really listen—to how your children feel about what’s going on in the family.  They may not be so demanding if they know you at least care how they feel. Celebrate your 12

children’s differences. Let each child know they are special in their own way. ( Teach Negotiation and Compromise
 Show your kids how to resolve disputes in a way that satisfies both siblings involved. First, ask them to stop yelling and start communicating. Give each child a chance to voice his or her side of the story. Listen, but don't be judgmental. Try to clarify the problem ("It sounds like you're really upset with David for taking your favourite video game"), and ask your kids to find a solution that works for everyone involved. If they can't come up with any ideas for resolving the issue, you introduce a solution. For instance, if the kids are fighting over a new game, propose that you write up a schedule that gives each child a set amount of time to play with the game. ( Enforce Rules

Make sure all of your kids abide by the same rules, which should include no hitting, name-calling, or damaging each other's property. Let your kids have a say in how the rules are established and enforced. They may decide that the punishment for hitting is losing their TV privileges for one night. Letting your kids play a role in the decision-making process will make them feel like they have at least a little bit of control over their own lives. When your kids follow the rules, praise them for it. (

Hold Family Meetings
Get together with the entire family once a week to hash out any issues. Give every family member a chance to air his or her grievances, and then come up with solutions together. ( 13

Parenting about Sibling Rivalry
The community’s help is especially necessary for those families that have suffered different traumas due to social or natural disasters. The community also has a definite interest in breaking the viscous cycle of ignorance that keeps these problems recurring generation after generation. One way in which communities can help with this is including concepts pertaining to the socio – emotional developmental stages from childhood till adolescence, parent’s role in rearing children etc within courses as education, family life or social studies. This should begin in early grades, with simple and general concepts, advancing towards detailed discussions on causes and consequences for high school students. ( a Seminar Pertaining to Socio-Developmental Stages According to Erikson (1956), the socialization process consists of eight phases – the “eight stages of man.” His eight stages of man were formulated, not through experimental work, but through wide – ranging experience in psychotherapy, including extensive experience with children and adolescents from low – as well as upper – and middle – social classes. Each stage is regarded by Erikson as a “psychosocial crisis,” which arises and demands resolution before the next stage can be satisfactorily negotiated. These stages are conceived in an almost architectural sense: satisfactory learning and resolution of each crisis is necessary if the child is to manage the next and subsequent ones satisfactorily, just as the foundation of a house is essential to the first floor, which in turn must be structurally sound to support and the second story, and so on. (| 14 There are several ways in which the community can help reduce the incidence of the many problems brought about by inadequate parenting, including sibling rivalry.  The community's help is especially necessary for those families that have suffered different traumas due to social or natural disasters.  The community also has a definite interest in breaking the vicious cycle of ignorance that keeps these problems recurring generation after generation. One way in which communities can help with this is including the previously discussed concepts in elementary and high school study programs, within such courses as Education for Family Life, or Social Studies.  This should begin in early grades, with simple and general concepts, advancing towards detailed discussions on causes and consequences for high school students. Sex education is a necessary but certainly not a sufficient preparation for future family life.   Because of these same reasons, perhaps these concepts should be included in mandatory counselling sessions or courses for couples applying for marriage licenses.  And since not all children are born to married couples, these concepts could also be included in similar counselling sessions or courses for all women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth, possibly as part of pre- or postnatal social or medical assistance. If possible, these courses should be evaluated, with some kind of a (possibly monetary) small reward for successful completion.   ( an Activity like a Family Day Studies show that difficult times can actually help bond them together and form a common purpose.  Family day is their time to spend together meaningfully. This is a designated time the family plans to interact with each other over a group of activities or a major fun project. It has Beneficial Effects of Spending Time Together: Family members learn how to listen and work 15together, communications between family members improve, children improve relationships and bond to their family members, actively strengthening family bonds reinforces mutual respect and members learn to value one another and are less likely to hurt each other. ( I concluded that sibling rivalry can create certain stresses but if they are able to overcome it successfully, it will give resources that will serve well later in to their life. Siblings learn how to share, How to come and face with jealousy and how to accept their individual strengths and weaknesses. But if the rivalry becomes the whole focus of everything, and you feel like your value in the eyes of yourself and your parents will fall if you can't beat out a sibling, then you're headed for unhappiness. Constant competitions, especially between people who are supposed to love, help and support one another, are dangerous, and can cause trouble that lasts for years. 16References A. Electronic Reference,mod=18&sourceid=chrome&ieF-8 17| |



The Growing of Siblings Rivalry
Thesis Statement: Siblings rivalry starts by arguing about small things until it becomes a bigger issue and sometimes it takes a long time to heal the pain that they brought into each other’s life.

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