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Sibling Rivalry: The Jealousy Monster
Sisters looking at toys

Topics on
Sibling Rivalry:

You vs. Them
Attention and Approval
The Jealousy Monster
Playing Favorites
Fair and Equal
Get Over It!
Good Rivalries
From the Mentors
Jealousy is one of the most basic emotions a person can feel. Everyone struggles with it, no matter how old they are or how well their lives seem to be going. Still, it's important to learn how to deal with it before it makes life with your sib downright miserable.

Harry, 13, wrote to us to say that even though he's older, he finds himself jealous of his brother Jonathan because he's a better skateboarder. Harry hates that he and Jonathan argue constantly about stupid stuff, like who gets to hold the TV remote or use the computer.

Maybe Emily's situation will sound familiar to you. Her older sister, who's almost 14, gets a lot of clothes, while Emily, 10, only gets one set a year...plus all the hand-me-down stuffed animals! She feels that her sister gets anything she wants because she's "almost a woman." Guess what...they fight all the time, too.

When we're feeling jealous of a sibling, we're angry at him or her for doing or having something that we don't, and we're frustrated with ourselves for not being able to do or have that thing. We feel like the easiest way to get out our anger and frustration is to FIGHT with that sibling...and, as you probably know, it usually makes things worse.

There is one really helpful way to beat the jealousy monster: Instead of concentrating on what you DON'T have or who you AREN'T, concentrate on what you DO have or who you ARE.

You don't have to be great at the same things your brothers or sisters are great at, or have the same possessions. Everybody has different goals, interests, skills, and talents, and we should each follow our own path rather than chasing after a sibling. You may be jealous that your sister is a star of the field hockey team...but maybe you're an awesome drummer. Instead of wishing you were good at sports, be happy that you can start a cool band with your friends!

Life is not a head-to-head competition, and nobody's keeping score. If it seems like your siblings or parents ARE keeping score, don't let it continue; let them know how you feel. You might also consider talking to an adult about how you can feel better about yourself and start liking who you are. Maybe it means finding a great new hobby, or trying a different sport. It's out there if you look for it!

Most importantly, remember that keeping feelings of jealousy to yourself is not going to make them go away. Talk about -- or even write about -- these emotions as soon as you feel them, so they don't get stuck inside you.

Discussion Questions Print out a list of discussion questions that will help you talk about your feelings with an adult.
Jealousy is also a big part of sibling rivalry when you feel like a parent is Playing Favorites, so read on!
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