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Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry, which can lead to unhappiness and unhealthy relationships within the family, can be avoided if parents lovingly bond with each of their children pointing out to them their uniqueness. All it takes is constant communication and exchange of one’s feelings.


or many years, my friend felt that his father loved his older brother more than he loved him. Even though my pal is a good-looking and intelligent person, he felt insecure. When his father got sick, he called for his son and asked him if he was right in sensing that his child felt that his love for his older son was greater than his love for him. He then clarified that he loved them both equally, but that he only had a unique way of showing it. He also told his son how proud he was of him. This was a major turning point in the strengthening of my friend’s self-worth. It was a good thing that he and his father had shed light on this important matter before his father passed away. 

Blood ties do not always guarantee smooth relations, and oftentimes, hurts and doubts about worth start inside the family. Michigan Medicine C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital points out that, “Sibling rivalry is the jealousy, competition and fighting between brothers and sisters. It is a concern for almost all parents of two or more kids. Problems often start right after the birth of the second child.” 

Ideally, the love between spouses is shared with their children. However, the children might sometimes feel they are in a contest for their parents’ attention and affection. Siblings of the same gender, coming after the other in birth order, may feel that they are being compared to each other. The second child might also often receive hand-me-downs, instead of new clothes and toys.  

For parents, it is essential to affirm each child in a personalized manner. My other friend, a caring mom, makes sure she has individual bonding time for each of her children. She encourages them to discover their unique giftedness. Based on the profound knowledge of parents for their children, their approach to addressing the concerns of every child needs to be tailor-fit. Deep-level listening and communication are necessary.

If you are the child who feels compared with your sibling, it would help to share these feelings with your parents. Continue to discover that you have been wonderfully made by the Lord and that you have your own strengths as a person. 

Rivalry between siblings might be a reality, but hopefully, sibling love would prevail through the constant effort to focus on what unites the family, rather than what divides it.  

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