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Causes of Sibling Rivalry

children quarrel for the same toy

Sibling conflict is the form of jealousy, fighting, and competition between the two siblings for everything. It is usually seen in every home once the birth of a second child takes place. It sometimes recovers over time, and two rival siblings become the best friends, but sometimes it changes into long-term rivalry for ages, and it will result in lifetime conflict if parents do not address it on time.

9 Top Most Causes of Sibling Rivalry

There are many reasons for sibling conflict. It may be inherited from family, any psychological disorder, or because of some bitter past experiences. Sometimes it can be diagnosed initially by little attention of guardians (parents or teachers), and sometimes a proper psychiatrist is needed to cure it. There are many causes of sibling conflict – the following are essential of them.

Attention Diversion

The problem starts when one sibling is getting more importance and attention from parents than the other one. It mainly occurs in the eldest child because before the birth of the second sibling. He was always the center of attention at home. Parents always put extra effort into making them happy and try to fulfill all their desires. But when the other sibling is born, suddenly, all the attention gets diverted to younger ones, and the eldest one feels ignored. He starts to compare all luxuries with the younger one and gets jealous.

Parent’s Comparison between Siblings


Every child has their talent, interest, and abilities. Parents should always encourage them with the personality and interest they have. Still, they pick one child as their favorite one who is mostly good in academics and always force other siblings to be like him, which becomes the reason for rivalry among siblings.

Take Sibling as a Threat

When an elder child notices that all attention and importance are for the younger child, he feels threatened by his sibling. They feel that the newborn baby threatens their relationship with their parents, and he took all his space and love at home.

No Outgoing Activities

Children with no extra co-curricular activities get bored, tired, and frustrated with time. It will also be the reason for sibling conflict because the mind is free to think of opposing ideas and never get a positive outcome.

Parents Lack of Attention to the Issue

When everyone in the family observes the conflicts of a sibling, but they do not take it seriously because they think it’s normal. Every sibling has that level of competition in them, and then the situation takes the worst place.

Stress in Parent Life


Stress in parent life because of any financial or social crises also becomes the reason for sibling rivalry. Parents are usually unable to give proper time to each, they stay depressed and avoid spending time with children. It impacts a slow poison in their mind.

Nonforbidden Verbal Abuse

Sibling rivalry is also taking severe conditions when there is continuous verbal abuse between them. As in every household, physical abuse can be a severe problem to the parent, but they do not consider verbal abuse that much seriously.

Gender Preference

Gender preference is also one of the significant reasons for sibling rivalry. As we all know, boys have more social acceptance or socially welcome than girls in every society. This world is full of patriarchy in which the gender of males has more importance than the female.

Lack of Sharing Skills


Lack of sharing ability is also one of the reasons for sibling rivalry, especially if two siblings are of the same age and gender. They usually use to like the same things, wear similar clothes, eat the same sweets. Parents use to divide everything equally between them. It is also another cause of sibling rivalry because they think it would be all theirs if they were alone.

Strategies to Resolve Sibling Conflict

  • First of all, don’t choose one child as your favorite one.
  • Don’t compare the talent and abilities of one sibling with others, appreciate the way they are.
  • Set some rules for your child’s early ages to cooperate rather than to compete.
  • Observe their behavior with each other and if you find any issue or conflict between both, resolve it at early stages.
  • Engage the coordination between the sibling with co-curricular activities so that the bond between both get stronger.
  • Verbal abuse should be taken as seriously as physical abuse. The hate between children should be noticed on priority.
  • Avoid showing your stress to your children and never let them be a victim of your depressive state. There are chances it can be a cause of conflict in siblings and be a part of their personality.
  • Parents must always give proper attention to each child. Gender inequality is another reason for conflicts between them. Always show that both genders are equal for them by their attitude.
  • Introduce sharing habit with your children as a superpower always motivate and engage them toward sharing.


Sibling conflict should be taken as a threat, and guardians must find ways to make it curable. It all depends upon how guardians deal with it. Parents or guardians should give proper attention to each child and take notice to solve their issues by consulting a psychiatrist, their school teachers, and your well-wishers. Parents should play the role of being problem solvers and hear every child equally and find ways to bring love in them.

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