By Alison Stanton —
Do you ever find yourself feeling envious of your bestie who is an only child? Do you consider putting locks on your bedroom door to keep your pesky little brother away from your stuff? Or, do you wish that your older sister would finally go off to college so you can have some peace and quiet?
If any or all of these examples sound familiar, you are probably experiencing a good case of sibling rivalry.
What is sibling rivalry, anyway?
While some of your friends might tell you about how they are BFFs with their siblings, it is way more common for brothers and sisters to argue and fight—at least some of the time.
Like its name suggests, sibling rivalry is when you feel like you are in competition with your brothers and sisters rather than on the same team. As for why sibling rivalry happens, sometimes it stems from the feeling that your little sister gets way more attention from mom than she gives you. Or, your older brother is always bragging about his A’s on his math tests, when you struggle to get a B-minus. When you feel frustrated or jealous of a sibling, it’s easy to get mad and want to nitpick and argue with them about every little thing.
Fortunately, sibling rivalry is super common and totally normal. Even your friend who claims to be close with her older sister probably has a loud argument over TV or chores once in awhile. But if you feel like you spend more time feeling angry or mad at a sibling instead of getting along, it is probably time to try to get along better.
In order to eliminate sibling rivalry, at least most of the time, check out the following ideas:
Remember, you are special too
Your brother may be really great at math, but you are definitely better at drawing and reading. So when he starts going on and on about his perfect math score, try to smile and congratulate him on his accomplishment and remind yourself that you have plenty of special talents too. And who knows? If you start praising your bro when he does well in school, he might tell you he really likes your latest painting.
Come up with something fun to do together
Sometimes sibling rivalry can stem from boredom, especially on those long summer vacation days. When nothing is on TV and your friends are all busy, you might find that arguing with your sister will help pass the time as much as anything. To avoid this from happening, ask your parents if you can work on a special project with your siblings—like maybe washing the family car together, planning a picnic or setting up a lemonade stand. Having a common goal, like earning money from selling lemonade can inspire you and your sibs to stop bickering and start working together.
If you are feeling jealous of your attention-hogging younger sister or mad at your bossy big brother, it can be really easy to lose your temper and start yelling. Instead, try to figure out what situations make you the maddest and then practice keeping your emotions in check. Instead of snapping at your bossy bro, take a few deep breaths and if you have to, walk away from the situation. Or calmly ask your mom if she could please play a game with you or bake a cake when your little sister is down for a nap.
Believe it or not, you may be best buds someday
It may be hard to believe this now, but when you get older your annoying brother or snippy sister might be among your closest friends. Sibling rivalry may be really common, but it doesn’t always last forever. After all, your BFF may go away to college and you might not talk to her much anymore, but your siblings will always be a part of your life.