How can parents thwart sibling rivalry?

Posted November 4, 2011 11:14 am  

Are there any new ideas about what parents can do to thwart sibling rivalry?  For common sense thoughts on the subject see this reasoned link.

We tried all these things, and they did not work for us.

At least one situation not described in the article above is when a child, under school or health-related stress, uses the sibling as scapegoat. Both children are suffering, but one is the aggressor and the other is the victim. What does the parent do, then?


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  • Elizabeth Marcus   March 15, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Charming article. I love the basic premise: “In a closed system, there’s only one pie and any of it you eat, I don’t get.” The article, claims that as siblings strive to avoid competition by choosing different interests, the pattern extends to knowledge: “So anything my brother knows, I don’t know.”

    Not having siblings, I’ve always wondered at the fact that all through life siblings have to compete with others–strangers–for collage placement, for job advancement, for potential clients, for whatever, and yet they continue to experience sibling rivalry to the bitter end. Now I get it: the late-life competition with a sibling is not for the better ball or bigger cookie any more; it’s for the intangible prize of parental admiration, which was probably the core issue all along and can continue long after the parents have died! Apparently admiration the parents might have felt had they been there to feel it is worth fighting for, too.

  • Darien   March 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    I’m not sure how it can be thwarted, but here’s an interesting piece on how we self-identify in reference to our siblings to avoid competition.

    It really adds some interesting science to the discussion of sibling relationships.