Dealing With Sibling Rivalry Within The Family
Nadia and Rey have been blessed with two beautiful daughters, Regina and Rhea. There is only a two-year age gap between the siblings, which the couple has taken as a positive sign. They said, “Our daughters will be each other’s best friend. We are claiming it now.”
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. Regina became known for her brains and organizational skills, and everyone praised her for being on top of the class every year. Rhea, on the other hand, turned out to a prom-queen-material and joined beauty contests and cheerleading competitions. The fact that both girls excelled in different fields would have been excellent, but the people around them started comparing the two, thus making them develop sibling rivalry.
At first, the sisters merely competed to see who could get ready faster in the morning (a task that Regina bulldozed with ease). Since she lost that one, Rhea changed course and decided to figure out qualify for the Spelling Bee competition at school, which they were both reasonably good at. The younger sibling had a slight edge on that and won, to Regina’s dismay.
The two continued to challenge each other like that for years. To the outside world, it seemed incredibly healthy. Some even uttered that it was an ideal way for siblings to stay grounded. However, only their parents knew that this seemingly harmless rivalry had grown deep and transformed into repulsion. The girls still did family activities together (partly due to Nadia and Rey’s coaxing), but you would never see them hang out with one another as other sisters would.
When Regina and Rhea went to college, they grew further apart. The former got accepted to NYU, while the latter entered USC. Although they were thousands of miles away from each other, the siblings continued to find ways to alienate one another whenever they were both at home. They bickered about details as small as the utensils’ angle on the dining table or how far the mat should be from the door.
The parents finally had enough when they noticed that one refused to go where the other was, and neither even bothered to come up with a proper excuse. Nevertheless, the sisters were already adults and could never be ordered to make up and forget their indifferences. Upon consulting some friends, they tried a few things that might resolve an ongoing sibling rivalry within the family.
Have An Open Dialogue At Home
The first thing you should do is have a sit-down meeting with the family and express your disappointment towards your children’s behavior. Try not to mince words so that they know how serious you are, but it is best to prevent yourself from showing anger, too. Nobody ever listens to angry people, after all. If you want to know how to address this mental behavior, check out BetterHelp.com for reference.
Once your feelings are out in the open, you must encourage the kids to open up about theirs. You may start with the question, “What don’t you like about your sibling?” That may take a while, depending on how long their reasons may be. If they spill the bean, though, follow it up by asking what they like about each other.
While forgiveness may not come immediately that day, you may see your children soften up a bit.
Avoid Siding With Anyone
The reality in any sibling rivalry is that one person has more valid reasons to despise the other. For instance, the older daughter may love to keep her stuff tidy, but the younger one borrows or breaks them often. Similarly, the latter may be bratty and want everything that the former has, even if they don’t need it. There is a need to put a red-flag on that behavior.
No matter how much you want to side with one kid, you should never do that, especially when your goal is to have peace. Listen to whatever they must say; empathize with both if you must or remain poker-faced. In case you side with anyone (albeit slightly), the other’s hatred can flare up, to the extent that you won’t be able to make them come home.
Plan More Family Trips Together
As mentioned above, forgiveness does not happen overnight. The longer the sibling rivalry has been going on, the longer it may take for the siblings to enjoy each other’s company.
Despite that, since you are the parent, you can force them to go on a family trip even if they are not into it. It would be helpful in addressing stress. The key is to pick a destination that they can never pass up, such as an island in Greece, a southeast Asian country, or the deserts in the Middle East. By taking them away from friends and other relatives, your kids have no choice but to rely on one another in a foreign location. Hence, their bond may begin to strengthen.
Sibling rivalry must end as soon as you notice it. Nadia and Rey had had a tough time with their children because they decided to act on it when the sisters were already in college. If you notice your kids competing earlier than that, you must remind them why sibling rivalry is unhealthy and how they should treat each other instead.