Sibling Rivalry: It's What Kids Do
As the mother of three children, two girls and a boy, I am extremely familiar with "Sibling Rivalry." As the youngest of 5 children, I am extremely knowledgeable about "sibling Rivalry." Sibling rivalry is something that kids do, even if they have no siblings. It is human and necessary for growth. Sibling rivalry is probably as important to growing up and becoming successful as learning to read.
Yes, I went there. Learning to read is the most important skill you need to succeed. "If you can read you can learn anything." I say, if you can sell yourself, you can be a winner.
Let's take an important scenario. Tribes throughout the world, let's say Indigenous People, before "reading" became "fundamental", thrived and grew, increasing their borders as needed for growth of the tribe. There was sibling rivalry. Calling it survival of the fittest is really calling sibling rivalry by a different name. A chief has three sons, when he dies, it will be the strongest son, not the eldest, that becomes the chief. If there is a challenger for leadership, it will be the strongest that becomes the new chief. There will be cheering sections, followers if you will, who take sides. And to the victor go the spoils.
Quit Touching Me!
In Real Life
In real life, sibling rivalry starts at a young age. Attention is necessary for survival. The baby cries, and the parent responds. This is the first lesson every human, and in fact every animal, learns. When there is a new sibling (anything goes here, neighbor, pet) that demands attention, our mind goes into survival mode. We need to "make more noise" than our rival. He's touching me, he won't stop touching me, leave me alone, quit touching me!
Parents (supervisors, friends, hubbers) respond. Quit touching your sister, leave her alone.
As we grow up, we realize that "the squeaky door gets the grease" and we make more noise, every where we go. We, as creatures of habit, apply our theory of survival, in school, in jobs, in friendships, at the bar, on line, and even in our relationships with complete strangers.
Don't talk to me!
Winner or Loser
Now that we have set up an altercation, whether by touching or talking, we have opened the door to alienation. Of course, our brain chemistry is such that survival depends on others. We cannot abide complete alienation. The next tactic is campaigning.
We choose our tactics wisely, we engage in public debate, we know that some will be for us, and some against us. We must try yo win as many supporters to our side as possible. This is where we begin to "swear and promise" we may also "threaten and punish". The example that follows is a real life scenario, the story is true, the names are changed. Don't get freaked out, this happened in the '80s, it is about real children and did not happen on the internet.
Anna, a pretty blonde girl in the neighborhood, decided to start a club. My daughters, DD, and Jackie, became members. The two girls across the street, Carla and Tess, also joined.
At a meeting it was decided that a president should be elected. Anna assumed she had started the club, there should be no competition. But DD and Tess thought otherwise. It should be a vote. They wanted Jackie, because she was always fair. The campaign ensued. Jackie was going to win, even though she was voting for Anna. Tess got kicked out. That made it a tie, with Anna winning because it was her house.
The next day, DD played a game with Tess, and got caught by Anna. DD was kicked out for breaking the rules by fraternizing with a non-club member.
Jackie got called to the club meeting at 4:pm, she went outside and had words with Anna, then tore up her "membership card" and threw it in Anna's face. She came in and told DD that she had been kicked out of the club too. (This was a lie, but she liked her sister more than her friends) Carla heard about it at the meeting and quit. Now Anna was the only member of her club, and by virtue of the rules, was not allowed to play with any of her friends. That lasted about a day, so she could learn her lesson. They soon decided clubs were silly.
Moral, even kids know they need each other to survive.
Even today, on our streets, and in our chat rooms, gangs form, leaders rise and fall, and people leave, deciding never to talk to each other again. People leave the group and come back. Some forgive and forget, like kids do, and some choose to stay neutral, still others will never forgive you, no matter what you do.
For those who are able to forgive, life goes on, and we move swiftly and even serenely onto the next step. The next step of course, is moving forward, stepping into the new day. We become productive again, and get on with our lives.
But what happens to us when we don't forgive? Think about how you treat the people in your life that you have not forgiven. Do you talk to them, chide them, deride them. You most certainly do not forget about it and move on. Who was it that said: "the best revenge is living well." I want to shake their hand. If you choose not to forgive, that is your right and your decision. What should you do?
Redirect your energy! Do not waste the time that it takes to exact revenge on the unforgiven members of your family, group, organization etc. Use your energy elsewhere or you begin to look different, act different, and treat others differently than before you were affected in the first place.
If you are in the business of trying to make friends. influence people, and possibly even make money, then making and punishing enemies is not the way you will achieve your goals. Remember what my mama always said "Never do ANYTHING that you wouldn't want your grandma to see published on the front page of the newspaper."
Think about it. Sibling rivalry is what kids do, and when they grow up, they call it "Healthy Competition" and "Survival of the Fittest" I ask you, is it really healthy? Is it really going to help you survive, or even make or prove your fitness? I don't think so. I just see a lot of people fighting with each other.
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