Sibling Rivalry In Adults

Sibling rivalry can be a persistent problem for some people. Sibling rivalry can begin, in some cases, even before a child is born. An older sibling might be jealous of the attention that the baby gets, with a party being thrown, a room being decorated, and mommy’s lap disappearing. Unfortunately, sibling rivalry can persist no only through childhood and adolescence, but even into adulthood. Sibling rivalry in adults is an all too familiar problem.

The good news about sibling rivalry in adults is that, at least in theory, adults have the capacity to approach the problem in a more rational and open-minded way than children. In addition, as children become parents themselves, they begin to see how easy it is for a parent to seem to favor one child over another. While a parent may love all of their children, the fact remains that sometimes a parent has more in common with one child than with another, or has a personality that blends better with one child’s personality compared to another. As adults, siblings should be able to recognize that this is actually a normal part of the way that human beings relate to one another, and that a parent favors one adult child doesn’t mean that the parent loves the sibling any more.

The biggest cause of sibling rivalry in adults is, as it is with children, jealousy. It may be that one sibling is more successful in an area, such as their career, than another sibling. Or, it could be that one sibling has more positive experiences in relationships than the other. Recognizing jealousy for what it is, while not an easy task, is often the first step in reducing sibling rivalry in adults. This is related to another common cause of sibling rivalry in adults as well as children, which is competition. While competition is not always a bad thing, if one sibling constantly feels as though they are behind their sibling in one way or another it will lead to sibling rivalry.

Ultimately, sibling rivalry in adults may not be improved without outside intervention, such as counseling. The fact of the matter is that, by the time siblings are adults, many of the feelings of sibling rivalry are so engrained that they are difficult to get rid of.