Sibling Rivalry

289 views | Zeenat Sambo | April 25, 2021

The bedrock of every society is the family and it would not be out of place to state that it is the most important unit in the society. The attachment and amiable relationship between siblings are goals that every parent wishes to achieve. Friendly siblings have a phenomenal experience, unity, feelings that integrates their trust, belief and understanding. They tease each other in the way only siblings can.

Amongst siblings, it has become a habit to hear jovial and sarcastic responses when having conversations.  As expected, at some point, siblings fight like friends do, each trying to get their point across. However, when the dispute begins to prolong to adolescent and parents not able to resolve, then it is definitely an issue of concern. While some share unbreakable sibling bond, others share a toxic relationship, this is becoming more common and equally worrisome.

Sibling rivalry is the misunderstanding, bickering, competition or jealousy that causes dispute between siblings in a family. At a point, the relationship becomes estranged and one becomes obsessed with their space.

In children, temperament, intolerable attitude, feelings of neglect and so much more can be a factor to lead to behavioral changes and jealousy which is not healthy for associating with his/ her siblings. It is acceptable to say sibling rivalry has some positives because it intellectually helps siblings develop their ability to know more, respect their space and explore their unique preferences in both academics and lifestyle.

From the clinical psychology perspective, sibling conflict can be problematic when accompanied with lack of warmth. Improving children’s interaction can teach children social cognitive skills that are beneficial in other relationships.

Parents need to be extra careful in showing preference to one child. When one child is being rattled all the time and the other is pampered, it can strain their relationship. Some children from abusive homes often develop conversion disorder. Conversion disorder can result from stressful experience with inability to manage feelings and behavior that are expected to be controlled in a certain situation. Some children bottle in a lot of emotional stress and abuse which transmit to their future relationships and this is a common occurrence in Nigeria.

Media reports on sibling’s killings, sibling’s interference and so much more makes it difficult to rationalise family rivalry as a welcome idea in the society. The case of Ibrahim Abdullahi masterminding his brother’s killing, Olarenwaju Adeyinka stabbing his sibling and many more cases that go unreported is rampant. It is unlikely to base an argument on sibling rivalry as an act that way off in time. In this generation a known rivalry from childhood can continue to adolescent, and affect the behavioral pattern and cause unexplainable conflict within the siblings and their extended families.

Marriage, financial issues, family property and insecurity are some factors that extend to adult rivalry. Many of these disputes have broken family ties, disrespect in associating and disgust at the memories of their past. It can be overwhelming when the family gate-keepers (parents) are no longer available to resolve their children’s issues. Lack of communication deprive many, of privileges they should embrace as one.

Where the hatred is so deepened, siblings should give themselves a minimal level of respect, understanding, patience and let go differences to be united again. The parent’s favorite should not trample upon his/her siblings and the breadwinner needs to apply a lot of wisdom in bringing all together.

Also, religious institutions need to strengthen the sermon of sibling love as a godly act. Every religion preaches peace within family and encourages visitation, rendering help and appreciation to each other. Some experiencing the dispute believe there are not only at loggerhead with their siblings but fear they are exposed to dangers in relation to them. Misunderstanding, judging and unforgiving circumstances makes it difficult to settle sibling disputes.

Although, it is advisable to stay off those that mean harm no matter how much you show love and mercy. Toxic sibling relationship can affect a person both physically and psychological. To avoid finding yourself as a target of ridicule or abuse all the time, it is better to seek counselling or set other measures for safety.

Trust is important but accepting the wrong done to you at all times might hurt your self-esteem or ego, so try not to be silent and speak out when you feel bullied. Never try to chew all thrown at you in the name of patient. You never can tell when being patient becomes oppression. It is advisable to also travel and experience new things thereby setting a boundary for peace of mind.

Anger management is crucial in maintaining a healthy sibling relationship. Hurling abusive words at each other will always get you all at the verge of inappropriate behavior and disrespect that might ruin your relationships. Patience, wisdom and silence are expensive virtue that need to be learnt and applied appropriately.

Blame game is another common factor in both children and adult fight. Funny is when the guilty plays the victim and the victim being the quiet or youngest is expected to take the blame. Everyone needs to be responsible for their actions and look for an appropriate way to apologies.

Effective communication, visit to a certified counsellor, family get-together, mediators such as religious clerics, esteemed family friends that can meddle in their affairs should be appropriate in ending the sibling feud.

Meanwhile, amazing sibling relationships are one of the most adorable bonds and having them strain can be a lifetime regret. Our generation needs to reunite families, united families breed a good society and society makes a great nation. God bless Nigeria.


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