A history of squabbling
The sibling rivalry in my family can be traced back for generations. My mum spent many a Saturday morning locked in the pantry cupboard by her older brother, who was meant to be babysitting. Being a ‘glass half full’ kind of person she made the most of her incarceration by eating the contents of the sugar bowl while she was there.
For me, the pecking order was decided by the battle of who sat where in the car, as we vied for window seats. My brother, the eldest, was out from the house like a lightening flash to get first place, while my older sister would slink along slowly, ensuring she got the last available window seat. Pity me, the poor, unsuspecting youngest who would always end up squashed in the middle.
Now a mother of two, I notice the rivalry hasn’t skipped a generation and I’m often amazed at just what my daughters can find to bicker about. What colour cup they have, who gets to clean their teeth first - why do they even bother arguing about this stuff?
I wonder if the age gap between my children makes a difference to the level of squabbling. With three and a half years between them, my eldest daughter naturally has more freedom and privileges given to her but strangely it seems she's the one whose radar is most keenly tuned to picking up on any perceived unfairness or favouritism.
Maybe there’s more rivalry between children of the same sex? Kate, who blogs at giggling at it all
, has two boys and a girl and has written about the clashes which happen most often between her sons. However Not a Notting Hill Mum
has a son and a daughter and she says the different sexes still find plenty to squabble about.
It doesn’t seem to matter on the family set up either, siblings and step-siblings can be just the same. I grew up in a blended family, as did Susanne, who blogs at ghostwritermummy
, and as she says one minute we may have been fighting but the next we’d be the best of friends again, blood relation or not.
Is it inevitable?
Fortunately the squabbles in our house, at this age at least, centre on minor issues and most of the time I approach them in the same way I dealt with toddler tantrums, ignoring arguments as much as possible. Sometimes though the rivalry drives me to distraction and I wonder if I should be doing more to keep the peace.
, who has triplet girls, tells me sibling rivalry is alive and well in her house too and she’s tried lots of different techniques to deal with it. They’ve rehearsed conversations for when arguments crop up and she makes sure her girls get the chance to head off on individual activities, giving each of them a chance to shine. They even tried running a ‘girl of the day’ scheme for a time but the disputes still keep going strong.
So is it inevitable? How’s the sibling rivalry in your family and what do you do to tackle it?