Advice Corner

10 Ways To End Sibling Rivalry For Good

10 Ways To End Sibling Rivalry For Good. Sibling rivalry is not only a thing for toddlers, even adults. Some parents unintentionally exacerbate the tension between the siblings by making comparisons. Those are often interpreted poorly by most children who perceive themselves to be less than adequate in the parents’ eyes. Birth order, gender, innate personality and parental treatment all contribute to the intensity or lack thereof of sibling rivalry. Whatever the reason you don’t see eye to eye with your siblings, the following tips can help better the situation.

1. Understand Your Family

Bear in mind that you and your siblings each had different relationships with your parents; not only that, but your parents were different people when each of you entered the family constellation.

2. Lead

Siblings who always want to “one up” you, even in adulthood, clearly have a limited repertoire of engagement strategies. Recognize that a little bit of modeling in your own interactions may be needed to move them out of the competitive rut they are stuck in.

3. Avoid Fights

Acknowledge that competition may be driven by childhood feelings of insecurity. Some siblings will continue to fuel such a rivalry well into adulthood. If this happens in your family, keep the conversation moving forward and do not let yourself be antagonized into responding. As parents often tell their children, “It takes two to start a fight.” If you’ve already had all the sibling squabbling you can tolerate, don’t engage further.

4. Talk To Your Sibling

If a sibling simply cannot move past the past, perhaps you should have a face-to-face, heart-to-heart discussion with him or her. Perhaps you might want to share your perspective on how you felt inferior to the sibling growing up.

5. Be Modest

It is said that adulthood turns rivalry into envy: If someone is envious of what you have accomplished, that says a lot about their own self-esteem and sense of accomplishment. If a sibling tries to denigrate your accomplishments, perhaps you can defuse the building tension by admitting that you haven’t accomplished all that your sibling has.

6. Change Your Behavior

It only takes one person to change the functioning of an entire family system and when you shift your behavior, your siblings have no choice but to shift in response. It may take a while to reach the optimal level of interaction, but knowing that you are making optimal choices provides momentum to keep doing that new thing you’re doing.

7. Involve Them

Don’t do everything in the family by yourself. Give your siblings a chance to pitch in, and make them feel appreciated. Your sibling probably needs to feel important. Some people need a lot of acknowledgment or flattery.

8. Avoid Alcohol, Especially In Excess

This might sound counter-intuitive, because it seems like it would be good to take the edge off, but it’s not. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, and can give us the courage to say things we may not otherwise. It also can fuel hidden anger and resentment that can put any sibling rivalry in adults on full display for everyone to see.

 9. Walk Away 

Fights with siblings often digress into a historical rehash of a lifetime of events. It’s really not the time or place to bring up when you were 5 and got blamed for breaking a dish your sister actually broke.

10. Ignore

If all else fails, limit time with a rivalrous sibling and simply let their comments float by if you must be in his or her company. The best way to end a fight is often to refuse to engage in the first place.

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