5 Reasons Why Sibling Rivalry Can Actually Be A Good Thing

When your children are not getting along well it can bring a huge amount of stress to all members of the family.

When your children are not getting along well it can bring a huge amount of stress to all members of the family. It disrupts the family harmony and creates daily stress for every family member, even if they are not directly involved.
Family meals and outings are overshadowed by bickering and everyday life is infinitely more difficult to contend with.
As a parent, it is really upsetting to witness your children arguing or fighting. You know it is normal and expected to a certain degree but when it starts to become the norm the alarm bells begin ringing. 
This is not the image you had in your head when you thought about the sibling relationships that would emerge. You were expecting friendship, support and civility at the very least.
You might be reassured to hear about all the ways that sibling rivalry can actually be a good thing. While the stress is undeniable there are some positives that can and do come from these relationships when they are going through a rough patch.

We are not suggesting that you encourage some kind of rivalry or difficulties in these relationships but it might just help you get through this troubling stage by knowing that all is not negative.

1. Believe it or not, it can actually encourage bonding. Sometimes we have to experience difficulties in a relationship to realise how much we value that person. Two particular siblings may have grown up fighting like cats and dogs but ended up the best of friends in later life. It can often highlight all that is at stake and actually cement a bond as issues are worked out and personalities explored.

2. We all have to learn the art of resolving conflict. Experiencing and resolving conflict with a sibling entails quite a bit of learning that will serve our children well when conflict occurs at school or outside of the home.
3. The art of forgiveness is an extremely valuable one. Learning to forgive and being forgiven are emotions that teach us a great deal about life. It shows us that we are not always right and that sometimes it’s enough to simply acknowledge that and feel remorseful. It also shows us that other people can make mistakes and we can learn to accept that and view them with just as much respect after the fact. It also teaches us about the importance of closure.

4. They might just learn to fight in a “fair” way. Neither of them wants to have their toys or consoles taken away. Neither wants to be grounded, punished or to be seen as the bad guy. For this reason, they will learn to bicker in a way that is semi-civilised. They’ll quickly realise that being physical, name calling and shouting simply works out badly for both parties.

5. It teaches them to stand up for themselves. Sibling relationships are so unique in that they have very little to fear when they know the other person will still “be there” after the fight. For this reason, it can help to encourage a sibling to learned to speak up and stand up for themselves when they feel they have been wronged. It’s stressful to listen to but this is a valuable life skill in many ways too.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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