The relationship between siblings is one of the strongest bonds that ever exists and yet, some tensions do arise. Read on to find out more.



Being siblings is not easy. You might love each other so much but there are certain times when it seems you get on each others' nerves for apparenly no reason at all.

But there is a reason and there are most times when you do not even realise it but the reason most siblings do not get along is because they are always fighting for their parents' attention. Often this attention seeking behaviour is not something that you sit down and think of but it just happens.

No matter how good you get along, your relationship as siblings is always threatened because there will always be that feeling that the attention that each one of you is getting is different.

The attitudes and values of parents and their behaviour towards their children will influence how the children view their importance in terms of their parents perceptions.

Despite the fact that some children might need more care than others, there is bound to be tensions among siblings.

This constant need for your parents approval can lead to tensions. These tensions though mild in some cases can be hurtful and demeaning and even lead to bullying.In most cases it is verbal, but there have been worst case scenarios where it has led to death, yes death.So the issue of sibling rivalry must be adressed.

What then are the main causes of tensions amongst siblings:

  • Competing for parental attention or recognition.
  • If the parents seem to pay more attention to one child more than the other, the result is that the other child will also do things to get the attention of the parents. And sometimes children will resort to doing illegal stuff so that they can be acknowledged as individuals.

  • Perceved favouritism of one child over the other.
  • If you are going to have a pet name for one of your children then it follows that everybody else should also have a pet name. You can even use the same name for all the children. That way they will not feel like one person is more loved than the others. If you go out of your way to spoil you youngest child, the same should be true for your middle child or eldest child.

    The instance you go out of your way for one child and fail to do the same for the others, they will not get along, because you would have shown that you like one child more than the others.

  • Parents' perception of what each childs role is.
  • Despite the fact that each child's role in the family is different, if one role is considered more important than the other...there are bound to be issues with the rest of the family.

  • If the child feels they are less loved or needed.
  • Again this is somehow linked to the roles that each children play. If one child feels that another is viewed more important because one child is quick to respond to cases of emergency , the other children can choose to withdraw because they might feel like they have no use.

  • Arrival of a baby causing tension.
  • This is the most common issue that causes tension. With the arrival of a new baby all attention shifts to the new born and the older child might feel neglected.

  • Ethnic and cultural attitudes towards certain genders,whereby one gender is perceived to be more important than the other.
  • In most cultures boys are the favoured gender of the child. Some parents actually withdraw from their child after finding out that it is a girl. This inclination towards one gender will ultimately lead to the demise of the sibling relationship, because if the boy child is revered as most important, that is the attitude that he will have of himself and view the others as unimportant.

  • Labels in the family,where one child is perceived to be smarter,and the other useless
  • Name calling and demeaning one child will cause that child to view themselve slowly.

These tensions among siblings affect self esteem.The bullied sibling feels worthless and can rebel as a result.

How then do you curb this problem:

  • Parents should not take sides.
  • Desist from interferring to solve the arguments.
  • Avoid name calling.
  • Make each child feel special.
  • Point out that although each child is different you love them the same
  • avoid preferential treatment
  • spend time with all your kids

The most important thing is to point out that there will come a time whn these children have different needs because they are at different stages of development, just because their needs are different does not mean that they love them any less.

The sad reality is that sometimes sibling issues branch out into adulthood, despite the various efforts people put to minimise sibling rivalry.
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