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 constant one-upmanship…what are we talking about? Sibling rivalry, of course!
Sibling rivalry is the term experts give to the fighting, jealousy and constant competition that occurs between just about all brothers and sisters. If a family has more than one child, you can bet that there's some sibling rivalry going on.
Sibling rivalry usually starts right after the birth of a second or subsequent child. How long does it last? Sometimes forever! Sibling rivalry that starts in childhood often continues through adolescence, right past adulthood and even into old age.
The effects of sibling rivalry can be felt beyond the siblings themselves and often 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. A little healthy competition amongst brothers and sisters can have some positive consequences, such as better grades and improved athletic performance.
When siblings feel like they have to compete for attention or resources from their parents, though, the effects can be harmful. Parents must be sure to attend to the individual needs of each child, so that 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 and empowering as that of a parent or spouse. Some of the closest relationships in the world can be found amongst siblings who have bonded over their shared upbringing.
- Children are different! Brothers and sisters are unique individuals with different needs. Treat each person as an individual and seek to understand his or her unique needs. Doing so will make sure each individual gets the attention he or she needs.
- Allow no disrespect! Differences of opinion will arise no matter how close people are. How those differences are resolved can make all the difference in the world. Work to resolve differences peacefully and respectfully at all time.
Do things together! Although individual alone time is important, it's also a good idea to do things as a whole family on a regular basis. Doing so sets the expectation that each person is a part of a larger unit and must be accountable to and respectful of all the other parts of that family unit.