Sibling envy is to some extent a common situation in all families. On many occasions, it is a slight competition between siblings that does not have to be completely negative if it does not go to extremes.
Many times it is even unconsciously that we can become jealous of our brothers, but whether it is a problem or not will depend on how we manage this situation to avoid it becoming a real problem.
In this article we will review some tips to know how to manage this situation among siblings, both from the point of view of the siblings themselves and from the role of parents .
How can sibling rivalry arise?
Some situations that trigger the presence of envy among siblings is the fact of wanting to be more taken into account by parents and the close environment (friends and family). This is typical in the early stages of development, in children and adolescents .
In adulthood this envy may also persist, but for different reasons; perceiving that my brother has been more successful than I am in the work environment or in some other aspect may cause this envy to reappear again in adulthood.
How do you deal with sibling envy?
Below is a list of useful tips to channel the event properly.
1. Take it as part of the relationship
First of all, we should not feel as if we are villains because we are jealous of our brothers.
The relationship between siblings does not have to be rosy all the time; misunderstandings can be frequent, and envy is a feeling that appears very early in the life of blood relations .
However, the bond of brotherhood must be understood as something that transcends all those situations, typical of coexistence. We must be aware that these specific feelings we may have are just that , passing experiences that do not define the real bond we have with our brother or sister.
2. Seeing the brother as part of the same team
The family is an institution made up of people with biological coincidences, but who at the same time harbour different opinions and tastes from each other ; siblings often tend to have a relationship of rivalry.
But when our brother succeeds in personal aspects, which have nothing to do with us, the ideal is to understand that achievement as a goal reached by a member of our team.
3. Reviewing aspects of oneself
When one has a feeling of envy towards one’s brothers, it can usually be motivated by aspects of oneself that displease us.
It is therefore good to take the time to identify what these aspects might be and to start working on them. Reinforcing self-esteem strengthens us in the face of envy and jealousy .
4. Have an assertive communication channel with my brother
Practicing assertive communication brings great benefits to our daily lives. By implementing this form of communication with our brothers we will be able to sand down all kinds of roughness without giving up expressing our opinions.
The process of assertive communication is based on saying things honestly and in an adaptive way; with an appropriate tone of voice and avoiding the use of hurtful terms .
Addressing this problem in our children
As parents of young children or teenagers, we must also understand that this situation is typical of siblings. However, you must be careful not to let it get out of control . Parents are the guarantors of the emotional and physical stability of their children. It is therefore necessary to provide them with the necessary tools for the future.
As for the rivalry that may exist between siblings, parents must implement conflict resolution methods in them that can serve them for the rest of their lives. Let’s see what they are.
1. Teaching values education
To the extent that we educate our children about the importance of values, we are decreasing the probability of generating unhealthy envy among siblings. The family is one of the most important values, and we must make sure that our children understand this.
2. Avoiding comparisons
The saying goes that comparisons are hateful, especially with our children. The ideal is to encourage the strengths of each of them without making comparisons with respect to the other siblings.
3. encouraging quality time together
If we let our children know that they can spend pleasant time with their siblings, we are gaining ground on the hostility between them , as their bond will become stronger and stronger and the empathy between them will grow.
4. avoid showing preference to any one sibling
If one of your children thinks you have a preference for his siblings, then the chances are that he will envy them more, and this envy could transcend into adulthood, like an old grudge from the past.
Ideally, you should always be equal and fair about the rewards and punishments your children care about, so that some of them are less likely to feel less than others.
- Cromdal, J. (2009). Childhood and social interaction in everyday life: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Pragmatics. 41 (8): 1473 – 1476.
- Upton, P. (2011). Developmental Psychology: Critical Thinking in Psychology. Exeter: Learning Matters.