The Reality of Sibling Rivalry

As my daughter cuddled with me on the couch while I caught up on the latest General Hospital episode {gotta have my soaps, don’t judge me!}, her younger brother came downstairs and started in on a meltdown.

He complained about his transformer toys that weren’t where he left them, and accused his sister of throwing them around because she was “always touching his stuff.”

Once he finished with all that extra-ness, he begged to play video games – and… well… that ain’t happening while I’m watching my soaps!

And so he continued on with his meltdown… about people touching his stuff… about how unfair it is that he can’t play his game… blah blah blah

After he moved along, my daughter looked up at me with those big beautiful brown eyes and said – sort of jokingly – “Uh! I hate having a little brother! Can’t we just put him up for sale?!”

I just looked at her and laughed.


Can’t they all just get along?

Later on that night, I really thought about it. Why in the world can’t they just get along? Why does every single thing have to be an all out battle of war. Every. Single. Thing. Whether it’s who has more pasta on their plate, who’s able to watch their favorite TV show, or which one is spending QT with mom today. They argue about everything.

I grew up essentially an only child. My sister is ten years younger than me and so by the time she came along I was all up into my own thing and really didn’t pay her much mind. Nor was I home often enough for her to get on my last nerve {maybe the first, second, and third – but not the last. Haha}.

So, when my kids go through their little – big – spats, I actually find it a little difficult to relate. I have to stretch. I have to imagine. I have to empathize. And at the end of the day, I’m wondering why they can’t just get along.

Then I’ll see the other side. When my daughter sticks up for her brother on the playground. Or when she looked out for him at school. I’ll see them playing together – and enjoy the rare moment that they aren’t fighting – and I feel hope. I see the future.

The reality of sibling rivalry

The reality of sibling rivalry is that siblings truly will fight just hard for each other as they do with each other. No matter how much they claim to hate each other, that’s only temporary. No matter how many times she says she’s going to sell her brother, she never really would. I hope.

My goal is to raise my children to be each other’s rocks in the eye of life’s storms. To depend on and protect each other; and to have a forever bond that will last well beyond my time on this earth.

Judging by the sounds of my kids playing together right now, I’d say we’re right on track. At least for today.

Now, don’t even bother asking me about the teenager. Lol.

I want to hear from you!
How do you handle the sibling rivalry between your children? Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.

Comments 18

  1. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t had children yet, but I had some fights with my younger brother when I was younger and he still is my best friend.

  2. You always have so much wisdom. My grandchildren have some type of disagreement every day but they too stick up for one another. Thank you for sharing this great article. It made me feel a little better to know that others have this same issue

  3. There will always be a bit or a lot of sibling rivalry, but just know that they don’t really hate each other. That’s just family for you.

  4. When we were in Prague, my kids were at each other while we were on the phone with them! Cade told Derek he really wished we took Cass with us and left her in Prague so he could be an only child.

    Oh yeah- I GET THIS!!

  5. When I found out my third was another girl, everyone told me they would be best friends. Sometimes they are, sometimes they definitely ARE NOT! I’m pretty sure, though, that when push comes to shove they will have each other’s backs! 🙂

  6. My girls are five years apart… and they STILL have sibling rivalry! I think it is just a fact of life. Ugh. I try to remind my oldest that while her younger sister may get more cuddles (I still cuddle my third grader a lot!), I get to share special things with her that her sister doesn’t appreciate yet. It’s hard !

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  9. Mine are only 3 & 6 and it’s really hard sometimes! There are moments when they’re so sweet to each other and play nicely, but there are times my 3 yo son just wants to play with whatever toy my 6 yo daughter has and vice versa. It they both want my attention right this second! or get too rowdy with the other, resulting in someone getting upset. I try my best to talk up the positive parts of their relationship and be patient when they’re upset with each other. Easier said than done but it’s nice to read your post that another mom is going through the same struggles 🙂

    1. So true Roshni! I do think that when the kids are closer in age there’s more rivalry because they are naturally at similar stages and interested in many of the same things. With me and my sister I was so far ahead and on to the next, so there wasn’t much to fight over.

  10. It’s a little crazy to me the amount of rivalry between my children. My daughter is around 18 months, and my son is around 3 months. So they’re still babies. Babies who can’t stand each other. Well, that’s not true. I guess it’s just my daughter who hates her brother. She’s constantly hitting him (and me) or having a meltdown. I really wish I had the answers. They have their sweet moments when she is sitting in her high chair and smiling at him in his swing, or while he’s breastfeeding, and she comes over and rubs his little head.

    I just wish there was more love and less . . . jealousy? I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

    I do remember as a child my brother and I fought about everything (he’s 3 years older than me) including, but not limited to: who has more milk in their glass, who got the better McDonald’s toy, who got better Christmas presents . . . etc. My parents had to get everything exactly the same for each of us because we were such whiney pants. Haha

    We don’t even really spend that much time talking to each other now, as 25&28 year olds. Perhaps there was something my parents did wrong, or perhaps we just had very clashing personalities. Who knows. 🙂

    1. Hi Beth Ann! That’s definitely nothing unusual for the babies – jealousy I’m sure but not serious or lasting. I can only imagine being the center of attention and then having a little cute baby coming along to steal the spotlight. Lol. It is the reality though: not all siblings get along. I’ve talked to many moms who say that either their kids don’t like each other much or they don’t like their own siblings much. However, if necessary they always have each other’s back. So, I guess that’s a bright spot in the cloudy sky of sibling rivalry. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.:-)

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