Sibling rivalry: Is there a cure?

Sibling rivalry: Is there a cure?

Surviving Sibling Rivalry – Is there a cure?

By Vanessa Beddoe-Sandström
It’s Groundhog Day in our house. My two eldest children fight over the same things from the moment they wake up until they moment they go to sleep. Is it just a passing phase, or is this going to continue to drive me crazy until one of them leaves home in about 15 years or so?
It is fair to say I am terrified by this thought and with two weeks of holidays ahead of me, I thought I’d write down what all the fights were about, just to see if it would help clarify things. What a revelation – many of these fights could be so easily avoided that I highly recommend this to anyone else experiencing the minefield of sibling warfare. 
A Typical Day of Fighting
7.10am Breakfast 
Fight: Whichever bowl one has, the other one wants it (stripes or spots). Even if it the opposite bowl to the day before.
Solution: Invest in a uniform set of bowls. Ensure consistency in porridge amount and level of milk by using measuring cups.
7.30 – 8.10am Getting Ready
Ongoing toy fights… The battle over toys is constant (and loud). The telling of tales drives me crazy: “He hit me” “But that’s because he bit me first” makes me want to scream (and sometimes I do).
Solution: Don’t get involved. If there’s a fight, no matter who’s to blame (and don’t even try to work that out), the toy goes into the void at the top of the fridge, to be rediscovered by archeologists some time in the distant future.
8.10am School/Kindy Run
Fight: Every school day, when we pass a certain intersection, my 3-year-old exclaims: “There’s a kindy bus.” This annoys my 6-year-old greatly, because “there are only school buses, you silly.” The next couple of minutes are spent debating whether kindy kids are allowed to have their own buses. This mind-bogglingly inane argument occurs every. single. day. 
And is immediately followed by the swearing fight.
Master 3 likes to loudly exclaim “F*ck off geese!” every time we pass the goose farm and Master 6 gets upset because swearing upsets his delicate sensibilities, even though I explain (every. single. day) that his brother is trying to enunciate “flock of geese”.  
Solution: Laugh. It doesn’t actually matter and I know I’ll look fondly on it when they’re older. But it really does get annoying.
3.00pm – 5.30pm Generalised Warfare
Whether it’s fighting over who gets to sit on which couch, who has eaten more crackers, or who let the preying mantis out of the jar, my boys like to spend the hours before dinner engaged in endless battle, going from best friends to enemies and back again by the time I’ve actually worked out what the noise is all about. 
Solution: Short of purchasing two separate cages, I need to stop what I’m trying to do and spend more time get my youngest engrossed in something that does not involve annoying his brother. No doubt this means he’ll end up annoying his little sister. This is a tough one, and suggestions are welcome.
Bath Time
Fight: Who gets prime position by the tap and blaming each other for the splash marks on the walls/floor/toilet/ceiling. 
Solution: Is my life really reduced to having to draw up a ‘Bath Tap Seating Schedule’? We already scoop out the offending splasher at the first sign of water damage, but it still doesn’t stop this happening every single bath time. Separate baths it is then.
Fight: Who sits where during story time/who gets their glass of water first/any number of perfected stalling tactics
Solution: This is more of a revelation than a solution – we are suckers and our children are master manipulators! Why on earth do we put up with this? Still, unless I keep a calendar by their beds, I can’t think of a solution for the bedtime fights because by this time I’m so desperate for a cup of tea that I don’t want to deal with the fallout if we try to make a stand.
Are there actually siblings out there that don’t fight or is it that they just haven’t started yet? We’d love to hear your story.



Karen Burke on 03 May 2013 19:03
I'm really hoping that the 4 year age difference means that the rivalry will be minimised! But if the temperament of the almost 4 year old is anything to go by, we're going to be in for a crazy time...


Kirsty Irvine on 07 May 2013 15:35
I was always seeking my older brother's approval growing up but he was never interested. We fought constantly. As an adult, I resented him for a long time until I dealt with my feelings. I see the same thing happening now with his kids, and I'm about to have my first child. I'll do whatever it takes to teach my kids to respect each other growing up, because I don't want them to feel the way I did!


Kim Warburton on 07 May 2013 16:19
omg the arguments never seem to stop, 2 little ones 2 big ones always something to bicker about round here. :) even down to MMMUUUUMMMMM such in such is looking at me!!!! but then on the flip side you get huggles from the little one when big one gets home from school.


Sheree Duncan on 01 May 2013 10:01
My 10 and 7 year old fight like cat and dog , day in day out about everything would love to know if it gets better


Grace Presland-White on 01 May 2013 20:09
Yeah what is with this sibling rivalry thing? I think one thing that can help is teaching children about the differences in people and about how to get along with people who rub you up the wrong way.

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