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Sibling rivalry: why the hellish family dynamic long outlives childhood

Sibling rivalry: why the hellish family dynamic long outlives childhood

10/19/2021 6:21:00 PM

Sibling rivalry: why the hellish family dynamic long outlives childhood

A poll of 2,000 adults showed a quarter of people still fight with their brothers and sisters – about everything from careers, cars, holidays and cooking skills to, of course, their parents’ love

But only a quarter of adult siblings fight.This wasn’t included in the research data, but I imagine that the other three-quarters spend their lives in a state of chilly quasi-estrangement, only communicating in brief texts three or four times a year.God, this is bleak.

Right? Basically, the fastest way a parent can screw up their child is by having another child.Are there no upsides at all?Some respondents claimed that their competitive sibling relationship only helped to spur them on to achieve better things in life. And also, a sibling can be a lovely thing to have. Remember, your relationship with a sibling is likely to be the longest relationship you’ll ever have.

So there’s bound to be conflict.Absolutely. You are bound together for life. You can divorce a needlessly competitive spouse. You can avoid your competitive friends. But, with a brother or a sister, you are fundamentally tied together. Your lives will always run in tandem, and you will always define yourselves by one another.

This sounds like an incredibly tricky balance.It is. Especially when, as sometimes happens, a parent clearly favours one sibling over another.Oh, here we go again. This is because I got a bigger Christmas present than you nine years ago, isn’t it?Wait, are we siblings?

We certainly bicker like we are.Well, let’s not go there. We’ll throw the entire pass notes canon into confusion.OK, phew.But mum definitely loved you more than she loved me.Do say:“Sibling rivalry turns people into monsters.”Don’t say:“Yes, but have you ever met an only child?”

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