The Struggle of Siblings

sibling rivalry, sibling jealousy, brothers and sisters, siblings

Hannah is a 16-year old from New Jersey. She loves to compete with color guard and marching band, and play piano. She hopes to become a writer one day, and to inspire others to follow their dreams.

            It is a popular topic to base a teenage “chick flick” around sibling rivalry. In many movies, one being 10 Things I Hate About You, a good portion of the storyline revolves around two siblings apparent hatred of one another. Often, this loathing stems from jealousy. In the case of 10 Things I Hate About You, the younger sibling is jealous of her older sister’s freedom to date.

Teen chick flicks aren’t the only place where sibling jealousy is common. In fact, it occurs in every single household that has multiple children. From a young age, kids are jealous of their sibling’s toys. As they grow, kids become jealous of older siblings’ freedoms and younger siblings’ freedom. Older siblings are often out driving around and being with friends, and younger siblings often lead a carefree life with fewer chores. This jealousy can continue if one child gets better grades, performs better in sports, or is more popular.

As a middle child, I understand sibling jealousy from both aspects. I found myself often jealous of my brother being allowed to stay out later than me, go on websites I was not allowed on, and going to hang out with friends unsupervised. At the same time, I resented my younger sister’s lack of homework and extreme amount of free time. The jealousy escalated as my brother excelled during high school. To this day, I strive to show everyone that I am indeed just as good as him.

In an extreme case, sibling jealousy can leave a lifelong scar. Often, this is partially due to the parents. If the parents are not as supportive of one child as they are of the other, the one child will form resentment and anger. Parents should give their children equal attention, and make sure that their children understand that one day they will have freedoms too. Furthermore, no parent should ever make a child feel like a disappointment. Even if one child’s goals are less ambitious, they should be supportive.

In the end, no matter what parents do, siblings will fight. There will be jealousy, anger, and cruel words flung back and forth. However, I feel that 10 Things I Hate About You teaches a valuable lesson about siblings: Even if jealousy tarnishes their relationship, in the end, they love each other in an unbreakable bond. So, parents, don’t fret too much. If you treat all your children with equal love and support, it will always overcome that green-eyed monster.

Photo: Katy Warner on Flickr

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