Sibling Rivalry

My colleague told us a story in the office about his neighbour and her outspoken four-year old. The little girl had gone into the bedroom where her mother was, carried her bag which had her clothes in it and was dragging it to the door. Her mother asked,

“where are you going to?”

“I am leaving,” she replied

The confused mother called her back but she ignored her and opened the door, still dragging the bag. The woman just gave birth few weeks earlier, so she was breastfeeding the new baby and was alone at home, she called out to a neighbour to stop her daughter, who was already outside.

“Where are you going to?” the neighbours asked when the woman told them what the girl said. “I am leaving” she repeated again, “to where?” the bewildered neighbours and mother asked “I don’t know, I am going somewhere else” she answered trying to collect her bag back from the neighbour.

“why do you want to leave?” they probed.

“since mummy brought her new baby, nobody likes me any more; everything is about the baby, and you are always laughing at me, that nobody wants me because of the new baby.”

According to him, some of the neighbours hissed and left there with the opinion that she should be left alone to go wherever she wants, that she is just seeking attention, while others said she should be placated with something and so with biscuit and drink in hand, the little girl went back inside with her bag…

I asked my colleague, why will she say nobody likes her? “Don’t mind her, we like her but she talks too much, so we tell her that to make her keep quiet…

To them her silence means she has learnt how to talk less and wiser… I remember a lady in her thirties complaining of her sister (in her forties) who hates her and will have nothing to do with her even if she were in trouble because, her sister told her when they were children, that she came to take her place and also take her parents from her when she was born and she held that grudge to adulthood.

I also have a friend who adopted her late sister’s daughter, but her daughter who is the same age will throw a big tantrum whenever she sees the girl close to her or calling her mummy, she is trying everything to make her accept the new daughter and that task is a battle she is set to win come what may.

Sibling rivalry is real, and if not nipped in the bud on time, it can be the case of the women above still at logger head over who came first and why, even in adulthood. Especially children who are used to being the only child before the next sibling came.

Sometimes the fault is from we the parents, other times from outsiders like the neighbours in my colleague’s story.

I have had times where my children will say I want my own to be like her own or hers is bigger than mine… I have explained to them, “no, I cannot do your own like Tori’s own, yours will be like Nuggie’s own while hers will be like Tori’s own… be satisfied with yours and do not look at other people’s own.”

We try to treat them equally as much as we can, but they grow everyday, hearing and seeing different things from both outsiders and insiders who think the best way to correct a child is to show/tell them directly or indirectly how others are better than them…

In other words we have to be sensitive and ask questions while being careful to not brush their concerns under the rug as childish banter.

How do you handle sibling rivalry… I do not think I am the only one who does not want to have a thirty and forty something year old adults squabbling over birth placements when I am no longer around because I did not do my duty as a parent properly…

How did you get over your resentment for your sibling?

What do you think parent’s do that unknowingly fosters sibling rivalry?

How do you intend to prevent sibling rivalry? for those who will start having children soon

How are you preventing it now? for those who have young children

How did you successfully prevent sibling rivalry amongst your children? For those with grown children


PS: Perching Laptop ain’t fun though, but till I resolve the issue with mine (or get a new one)… it is what it is, erratic post and all.



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