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Healthy Sibling Rivalry

13 December
Posted by:
Michael Grose

Sibling rivalry has a negative connotation
It’s like the word 'teenager'! You think that no much good will come from them.

But rivalry can challenge siblings to stretch themselves and do better. It's good to have some rivalry in your family. Rivalry can make kids try harder in school and outside school, even if it's just to get the better of a sibling.

I suspect the rivalry between former Australian Test cricketing brothers Mark and Steve Waugh as kids would have been intense. Trying to better each other would have made them try harder, practise more and score more runs.

It’s healthy when a sibling acknowledges the good work or features of the other, even if the acknowledgement is begrudgingly given.

Unhealthy sibling relationships

It’s unhealthy when no pleasure is gained from a sibling’s achievement. That’s sibling rivalry gone bad.

Healthy sibling rivalry can be noisy and fierce, but it’s also respectful of the good in each other. It’s also friendly but in a mocking sort of way.

We shouldn’t be afraid competition between siblings.

It’s been central behind the development of kids for years. It’s the toxic rivalry where kids put each other down and don't get pleasure from each other's achievements that we need to avoid.

Being mindful of personal bests, using encouragement rather than praise and promoting tolerance are some ways to promote healthy rivalry. Also knowing when to interefere in disputes and knowing when kids can work out conflict themselves will impact on the nature of competitiveness. Kids need space to sort out their own relationships.

I’m talking about sibling relationships at my Raising Happy Siblings seminar next March. Find our more.
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