While siblings have a special opportunity to develop close, strong bonds with one another, this special relationship can just as easily go the other way. Siblings can engage in serious competition to such an extent that getting along just doesn’t seem possible. As the younger of two sisters, I have experienced sibling rivalry from childhood through my adult years.
|“And a little sibling rivalry” by Cathy T|
Some sibling competition can be good thing. When my sister received a National Merit scholarship in her senior year of high school, I knew there was no question that I had to do the same. My senior year mirrored her accomplishment. Although our paths took a different chronological order, we also both went on to graduate from the same university, attend law school, become attorneys, become part-time working moms and stay-at-home moms. Along with similar interests, our competitiveness played a part in propelling us down similar, ultimately fulfilling paths.
At other times, sibling rivalry is not so pretty. My sister and I have outgrown our rough and tumble cat fights as young kids. But as an adult, I find it very easy to be pulled into the internal dialogue in which I compare the accomplishments of my child with her child, my niece whom I adore. Based on our sibling history, I am certain that my sister does the same! Luckily, for our families, this competition has not surfaced in any visible way (I hope!).
|“Sibling rivalry” by Richard Leeming|
If only there were some strategies and tactics that parents could take so that sibling competition among their kids doesn’t become unhealthy rivalry. Parents want their kids to nurture good feelings about each other and build supportive relationships that will last throughout their lives.
Interested in learning more about the pros and pitfalls of sibling rivalry? Attend Parent Talk’s upcoming lecture, “Beyond Sibling Rivalry,” by Peter Goldenthal, Ph.D on Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the Charles River School in Dover. The author of a book by the same name, Dr. Goldenthal is an expert on sibling relationships and child development. Parent Talk members are invited to attend for free and non-members can purchase tickets for $20. Register and get tickets at Eventbrite.com.
About the Author
Darlene W. Cancell is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom, and most recently, blog coordinator for Parent Talk.