Sibling rivalry…or conflict resolution?


Why do siblings fight so much? Is it because they are competing for attention from the same people – their parents? Do they desire so much attention that even bad attention will do? What is frustrating is that it seems like even if the kids can get along for what seems like a few seconds, the situation disintegrates to teasing and punching (usually when I step out of the room).

Obviously age difference causes a big ‘difference’ between kids. While one wants to watch Teletubbies, the other wants to watch Star Wars movies. If by chance they are able to agree on something to watch, like Spongebob, then the disagreement process moves to who gets ‘that seat’. Inevitably they HAVE to HAVE the same seat. Why is it that they can’t just get along? Is it greed? (I want what I want without regard to what you want?). Do children learn this behavior from adults? I mean adults can get that way too, can’t they? It isn’t rational, but it still happens. As humans we have greed and conflict.

Conflict isn’t all bad though. I recall a manager telling me that ‘ruffling feathers’ would ultimately result in ‘smoothing out’ of the feathers. When someone challenges you (the conflict) it makes you question your own views about things. This is healthy isn’t it? When I am honest with someone it makes me feel better, but then I worry it made the other person feel worse. I have found myself apologizing for being too frank at times. Is this what happens as conscious adults? We don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings? Do we avoid conflict? And is this healthy?

Now I look over and see the kids sitting on the patio sofa as the 7-year-old reads a book to the 4-year-old, their heads down as they look at the pictures on the page. I think to myself, “So what if the kids fight because they disagree sometimes. At least they are being honest with themselves, their needs, and their feelings.”

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One thought on “Sibling rivalry…or conflict resolution?

  1. They are craving attention. And children don’t learn it–they are born selfish. It is an inborn survival technique. They cry and fuss until they get what they want.
    The great advantage that kids have, however, is the ability to forget grievances and quickly move on. That is something few adults can do.
    And in my experience, most people rarely appreciate honesty when it applies negatively to them. They can fool themselves, but not if they realize others see it too. They will not easily forgive the “truth-teller”.

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