Do you have a brother or sister? If so, then you know all about today’s Wonder of the Day already. The backseat bickering. The endless one-upmanship! What are we talking about? Sibling rivalry, of course!

Sibling rivalry is the fighting, jealousy, and competition that takes place between brothers and sisters. And it’s very common. If a family has more than one child, you can bet that there’s some sibling rivalry going on.

When does sibling rivalry start? Often, it’s right after the birth of a new child. How long does it last? Sometimes forever! Sibling rivalry that starts in childhood often continues through adolescence. It may even stay during adulthood and even into old age.

The effects of sibling rivalry can be felt beyond the siblings themselves. Often, they affect the whole family. Parents, in particular, feel frustration and stress when their children fight. Constant bickering can take its toll on everyone close enough to hear it.

Of course, not all the effects of sibling rivalry are negative. Healthy competition can have some positive outcomes. It might lead to better grades and athletic performance. Sometimes, these rivalries push siblings to do their best. 

It’s a different story when siblings compete for attention or resources from their parents. The effects can be harmful. Parents must be sure to attend to the needs of each child. That way, everyone feels loved and cared for equally.

When this happens, siblings are free to grow close and become the best of friends. The unconditional love of a sibling can be as strong as that of a parent or spouse. Some of the closest relationships in the world can be found amongst siblings.

Brothers and sisters — and their parents, too — can reduce the negative effects of sibling rivalry. It helps to keep a few things in mind:

  • Children are different! Brothers and sisters are unique people with different needs. Treat each person as an individual. seek to understand their needs. This will make sure each individual gets the attention he or she needs.

  • Always practice respect! Differences of opinion will happen. What matters is how those differences are dealt with. Work to resolve differences peacefully. It’s very important that members of a family respect each other.

Do things together! Alone time is important, but it’s also a good idea to do things as a whole family. This helps everyone feel like part of the family. It also gives family members a chance to practice making others feel respected and included. 

Do you have any siblings? Even if you’re an only child, you may know what it’s like to have a rivalry with another person your age. Remember, friendly competition can be healthy. But it’s important to maintain respect for others, even those you may disagree with.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.4

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