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Sibling Rivalry: Fair and Equal
Brother and sister getting ballet slippers

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
Hello, everyone! Welcome to Planet Equal, where every sibling gets treated, well, equally. Here are some things you can expect:
  • You'll go to bed at the same time as your little sister, even if your favorite team goes into overtime on a Friday night.

  • You'll take ballet, karate, and piano (in addition to playing baseball), because your siblings all do these things.

  • Want a dog? Tough luck. Your older sister has a cat and now you're going to get one too.

On the other side of the solar system, we've got Planet Fair, where:

  • Older kids can stay up later than younger ones, since young kids need more sleep.

  • Your sister gets new skis because she's joined the ski club, while you get a new camera because you've joined the school newspaper.

Which planet would YOU rather live on?

There's a big, important difference between "equal" and "fair." It's impossible for parents to treat each child absolutely equally, and it wouldn't be right even if they could. Parents treat us differently because we are different. Maybe your sister is getting seconds on ice cream because she needs to put on a little weight. Maybe your brother got an extra pair of sneakers because he wears them out faster. Each kid's needs and wants are unique, and what matters is that your family is doing their best to give fair treatment. If you feel that this isn't the case, bring up your concerns with a trusted adult.

Still not convinced? When David got his dream skateboard for his birthday, he was totally psyched. A month later, his brother got the same board for his birthday, even though he still loved the one he had. Suddenly, David felt like his gift wasn't special anymore. David's parents were trying to be sure that they didn't favor him over his brother, but this equal treatment ended up making David feel bad.

In the next section, we'll look at more ways to help you Get Over It! when a sib is driving you crazy.

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