Jealousy between siblings (siblings rivalry)

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Jealousy between siblings (siblings rivalry)

Why would siblings become jealous of each other?
Would would two brothers or two sisters become rivals??

I am not only talking about siblings jealousy in children but i am also talking about adult brothers and sisters who grow up feeling jealous of each other.

Before i studied psychology i wasn't even aware of the fact that children or siblings can become jealous of each other but after i got deeper into the subject i discovered that jealousy knows nothing about family connections.

In this article i will tell you more about jealousy between siblings and explain to you why can such an emotion develop between brothers and sisters in childhood and adulthood.

What causes jealousy between siblings?

Siblings rivalry or the jealousy between siblings starts in the childhood where parents do little mistakes that ignites the competition between their children. (see Top parenting mistakes)

Here are some of the common parenting mistakes that lead to sibling jealousy in children:

  • Creating competition between siblings: The first mistake parents make which always results in siblings rivalry is letting their children perform the same exact activities. For example patents could send their children to play the same sport without realizing that each of them has different talents and skills and as a result the less talented kid will always feel jealous of the more talented one
  • Comparing them to each other: Comparing children to each other always results in the development of jealousy between them. "Be polite like your brother" is one of the common phrases that ignites jealousy between siblings without the parents notice (see Jealousy and competition)
  • Birth order and siblings rivalry: In my article how birth order affects your personality i explained how the different amounts of attention children get based on their birth order affect their personalities. For example the first child usually feels jealous of the new born because of losing the excessive attention he used to get from his parents. Newborn children result in siblings jealousy because the other children always feel dethroned by the arrival of that new sibling

Siblings jealousy signs in childhood and adulthood

In childhood signs of siblings jealousy always appear while the children are playing with each other. For example its so common for the child who is jealous of his sibling to hit him hard while playing while acting as if its just a game.

Siblings jealousy in adults takes a different form. You can easily notice it when one of the siblings talk about his brother or sister in his absence. The sibling who always criticizes the other one and speaks behind his back is usually the jealous one.

How to deal with jealousy between siblings

If you are a parent then i am sure you are already aware of the mistakes you should avoid in order to prevent your kids from becoming jealous of each other.

If you are the brother or the sister who is jealous of his sibling then you must understand that jealousy only happens when you feel that you are in the weaker position in a perceived competition.

Certainly working on increasing your self esteem, even if it was already good, will prevent you from feeling jealous of brother or sister.

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Want to know more?

How to deal with jealous people?

How to stop being jealous and insecure?

How birth order affects your life

How parents affects the personality of their children

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