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ME vs YOU- It's ON,- It's DEFINITELY ON! WE'LL See WHO'S Better-ME or YOU!!!

Updated on November 10, 2013
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With over eight years of writing and researching experience, Grace specializes in debunking commonly held myths about family psychology.


Sibling rivalry is an undeniable fact of life in famlies where there is more than 1 child.In such families, children are constantly vying for parental resources.Sibling rivalry just IS.
Sibling rivalry is an undeniable fact of life in famlies where there is more than 1 child.In such families, children are constantly vying for parental resources.Sibling rivalry just IS.


Sibling rivalry is a way that siblings establish dominance and/or territoriality in their respective families.
Sibling rivalry is a way that siblings establish dominance and/or territoriality in their respective families.


Sibling rivalry effect each sibling differently.Some siblings report being stronger for the experience while others suffer an irrevocable loss of self-esteem. Others are not affected in the least.
Sibling rivalry effect each sibling differently.Some siblings report being stronger for the experience while others suffer an irrevocable loss of self-esteem. Others are not affected in the least.


This hub is in response to the request IS SIBLING RIVALRY GOOD OR BAD by iwriteforyou.

Annie, middle sister (15): Margory, YOU always GET the praise in this house. YOU are such a goody two shoes. YOU think you are SO MUCH BETTER than I or Suki, especially me. Yeah, so good, it makes ME sick! (gagging)

Margory, oldest sister(17): Ann, if you studied instead of chasing boys, sneaking out of the house, and staying out all hours, causing Mom and Dad endless headaches and trials, maybe you could be an A student. You definitely have the brains but would rather be part of the crowd! (sneering)

Annie, middle sister: At least I AM having a life! All YOU do is to obey Mom's and Dad's every command. YOU are such an automaton! YOU make me sick! Mom and Dad HATE me. They are SOOOO LAME! According to good old Mom, I can do NOTHING right and YOU COULD!

Margory, oldest sister: Annie, Annie, the same old story again. Come on. Mom and Dad are not the problem. Mom and Dad, in fact, expected MUCH MORE from ME than THEY even did from YOU. Mom and Dad were far more relaxed with you, they did not punish you for smoking marijuana. If THAT was me, I would have been thrown out of the house! I remember being grounded at 13 for dying my hair platinum blonde! GROUNDED for dying my hair while YOU could smoke marijuana with total freedom!

Mother: What IT is with YOU TWO! You are SISTERS for God's sakes! You are much too old to be fighting like seven year olds. STOP IT IMMEDIATELY!

Margory, oldest sister: Annie, STARTED it, she always is starting something! I am SO SICK of her!!!!!

Annie, middle sister; Oh sure(sarcastically). YOU'RE ALWAYS the INNOCENT ONE in this scenario, Miss Ice Princess!

Margory, oldest sister: Well, at least, I was not caught sneaking a boy in the basement while Mom and Dad went to the Bahamas on a business conference! Well, huh, let ME tell Mom about THAT! A little family secret, huh!

Annie, middle sister: YOU are so bitter, YOU never had a boyfriend in YOUR life! You were so busy with YOUR HEAD in your books and up your -------------

Mother: HEY, I said STOP this NONSENSE as of NOW! My God, you TWO got worse as YOU get OLDER! What is WRONG with YOU TWO?! Really now...........................

There is no judgment as to whether sibling rivalry is good or good. It just IS, pure and simple. Educators, educational psychologists, psychologists, and other social scientists assert that the issue of sibling rivalry is de rigueur in the multichild family environment. If there is more than one child in the family, it is natural for such children to vie with each other for space, territory, parental attention, and/or to establish patterns of preeminence and/or dominance. The issue of sibling rivalry is exacerbated if the siblings are near in age to each other.

Sibling rivalry is an integral part in the exercise of territoriality on the part of children to establish their respective selfhoods. Where there are multiple children in a family, competition for space, the establishment of selfhood, and/or parental love/attention is often fierce, intense, and an undeniable fact of life. Children can be quite territorial, even at a very young age.

When another child/children are born into a family, the already existing child/children often feel a tinge of jealousy and a sense of abandonment. They feel dethroned and second place. They have lost their preeminent position as the center of their parents' universe. They wonder that they are not good enough. They reason if they were good enough and/or perfect in their parents' eyes, the latter would never opt to have another child/other children.

They have a sense of unworthiness in comparison with the new sibling/siblings. They see that new sibling/siblings as intruding their territory. Many older siblings revert to a previous developmental stage in order to gain parental attention. Such regressive acts such as reverting to infantile speech and/or behavior and/or soiling oneself is not uncommon behavior.

The older sibling/siblings see the younger sibling/siblings as an usurper of their sacrosanct territory, privacy, and/or parental space. They want to be the preeminent one again. So they enforce their will and use other mindgames to establish their dominance over the younger sibling/siblings. They often adopt a persona of being the better or the good one in order to curry parental favor, love, and/or attention.

Since siblings occupy the same familial space/territory, it is the survival of the fittest. The definition of what is considered the fittest varies based upon the respective sibling construct. Some siblings use guile to ascertain their dominance and/or favor in the family environment while others use pure brawn to establish this.

Each sibling wants to be the very best and ultimate child in his/her parents' eyes. He/she crave and want parental love and attention. He/she often sees the other sibling/siblings as potential and/or actual threats to this parental love and attention. He/she believe that if the other sibling/siblings receive parental love and attention, there will be little or no parental love and attention left for him/her.

Each sibling contends that there is only a finite and/or limited amount of parental resources, whether it is emotional, financial, mental, and/or psychological to go around to each child in the family. It is his/her intention that he/she gets an equitable share regarding space, territory, and/or the prerequisite parental resources. He/she does not want to be left out of the familial equation so to speak.

There is a specific family culture regarding the issue of sibling rivalry. Some family cultures strictly prohibit sibling rivalry. Such parents believe that their children are individuals in their own right. They contend that their children have individual and unique talents that are appreciated on its own merits. They strongly assert that their particular familial environment encourages expression and unilateral acceptance of all their children. They maintain that sibling rivalry, no matter how benign, adversely affect children and ultimately destroys their self-esteem.

There are other family cultures just merely tolerate sibling rivalry as a necessary evil. The parents know that sibling rivalry is destructive to sibling interaction and unity but they portend that it is a fact of life. The argument is where there are siblings, there tend to be rivalry. It is a necessary albeit negative aspect of the human condition.

A few family cultures have an ambivalent attitude toward the issue. Such parents maintain that although sibling rivalry is a nuisance which all siblings must endure, it teaches siblings valuable lessons such as standing one's ground, being competitive, and strengthen one's interpersonal skills. They state that sibling rivalry is quite unavoidable and must be faced head on. Their consensus regarding sibling rivalry is that what does not kill children, makes them stronger in the long run.

Then there are parents who like nothing better than to actively encourage sibling rivalry. Such parents use manipulative games and/or other forms of psychological power play in order for one sibling to be the winner at the cost of either demoralizing and/or alienating the rest of the siblings in the family. So the siblings engage in this game with the sibling deemed to be THE BEST winning! The one who is the winner receives the most favorable parental favors and/or rewards.

Still other parents may exalt certain characteristics while denigrating others. Such characteristics may be physical, mental, intellectual, and/or personality based. Siblings adopt personas deem appropriate and/or desirable to the parents and vie with each other. The sibling/siblings with the characteristics which the parents deem to be congruous and/or in conformity with their beliefs, ideas, philosophy, and precepts are favored and/or receive positive accolades and/or other forms of reinforcement.

The results of sibling rivalry vary from sibling to sibling. Some siblings actually thrive on sibling rivalry, viewing it akin to a power rush. They believe that they have become stronger and more competitive as a result of sibling rivalry.

More siblings strongly contend that sibling rivalry actually increased their self-esteem. Such siblings stated that life is basically the law of the jungle where the strongest survive. They assert that they learned such lessons from sibling rivalry.

Other siblings are quite indifferent to the issue of sibling rivalry. They endured it, so what. They survived and that it is all they have to say about the subject at hand. They see as just a natural part of life. Their attitude is just take it or leave it, no drama involved!

Still others report being irreparably damaged by sibling rivalry. They state that they would be better and more self-adjusted people if it was not for sibling rivalry. They hated the fact that they had to always compete with their siblings for familial resources. They maintain that sibling rivalry made them lesser people so to speak. They maintain that there is enough competition and/or drama in life without siblings have to resort to rivalry and competition for familial resources!

In summation, sibling rivalry is an integral part of life of most siblings. In multichild families, children share the same space, territory, and parental resources. This means that competition for such resources are a de rigueur part of life.

Children are quite territorial, even at very young ages. They view their sibling/siblings as either actual and/or potential threats to their unmitigated rights to familial resources. They believe that if the sibling/siblings receive their share of the familial resources, it means less for them. So they vy with their sibling/siblings for such resources to make sure that they get their rightful share.

The attitude towards sibling rivalry varies from family to family. There are some families who strongly abhor and detest sibling rivalry as destructive and disruptive to the harmony of the family unit. Other families are quite ambivalent regarding the issue. While they view sibling rivalry as an unavoidable and necessary evil, it is an integral part of sibling life. Still are those who actively and avidly encourage sibling rivalry. They are of the school that siblings must compete with each other to know who is THE BEST ONE in the bunch.

The aftereffects of sibling rivalry impacted each sibling differently. Some believe that it made them stronger, fiercer, and more competitive. Others have quite a lackadaisical attitude to the entire thing while a few reported being irreparably damaged by the whole experience. Sibling rivalry is a subject which brings reactions from the sibling/siblings involved. It is quite a touchy subject which will often have lifetime ramifications either for good or ill!

© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams


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