5 Causes Of Sibling Rivalry In Your Home

April 14, 2017

5 Causes Of Sibling Rivalry In Your Home

Many parents do not anticipate sibling rivalry among their children. They expect a natural progression and a healthy relationship upon the arrival of the second child into the family.


As a result, they are surprised at the conflict that comes into play when a newborn enters into the family. Sibling rivalry encompasses jealousy, fighting and undue competition among brothers and sisters.

It can set in quickly and continue unhindered as children grow together and may even persist into adulthood destroying the beautiful relationship that should exist among siblings.

A lot of things are behind sibling rivalry from arguments over toys to a need to attract parental affection.

For parents who want to get rid of conflict among their children, we examine reasons behind sibling rivalry so you can understand why your kids behave the way they do.


He wants attention too

This regularly occurs when the first child is not prepared for the arrival of a brother or sister. They are surprised at the sudden transfer of attention and affection by their parents.

They try to get at the baby and play pranks in order to attract parental attention. Getting angry at the older sibling would only serve to validate his reasoning and inspire him to maltreat the baby more.

Parents should see through these actions and prepare the older child for the arrival of new sibling as well as involving him in the baby’s care in little ways that make him feel important.


Siblings are naturally competitive and this competitive attitude extends to their academics and sports. Sibling rivalry can quickly develop if children are good at the same activity.

There would be a constant race to impress their parents by proving superiority. It can quickly turn ugly where a child wins a prize or is singled out for commendation and his brother or sister attempts to get back at him because they feel outdone.

Age difference  

Most parents attempt to create a four to five year gap to allow children to be independent and self-reliant before the addition of a new member to the family.

This age difference can quickly become a cause of rivalry among siblings. This is because there is a lack of understanding between younger and older siblings.

The independent older child has different priorities and a mindset that is very different from the younger one. This will lead to a clash as the younger child who doesn’t see things the same way will quickly rebel and attempt to resist what he sees as unfair treatment.


 While every parent might have favorites, showing off a particular child as a clear favorite can be the spark that ignites the flame of rivalry.

Be careful of continually supporting one child in the face of arguments or constant comparison of strengths and weaknesses of your children.

Unequal treatment when it comes to pocket money, physical affection like kisses or hugs and buying of clothes should be avoided as it can start arguments that would lead to conflict.

Possession and space  

Toys are a common source of conflict

As they grow older, children naturally want to explore their individuality. As a result they want their personal space and do not want to be boxed in with less mature siblings from their point of view.

Conflict will also arise where toys, clothes and phones are used without the permission of the owner.
Knowing the reasons behind the sibling rivalry in your home is the first step towards resolving it and creating peace.

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