PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Sibling Rivalry: You vs. Them

It's a fact of life: if you have siblings, you usually have trouble. Many of you wrote to IML about problems you're having with brothers and sisters:

Nicole, 11, says that her brother tries to make her feel stupid, and whenever she tries to talk to him he tells her to "shut up." Even though she loves him, she can't help wishing she could have a better brother.

Ivan, 12, has three older brothers and a 10-year-old sister. While he gets along great with his brothers, he and his sister fight constantly over dumb stuff.

Chabré, 10, wonders why sisters and brothers sometimes get treated differently, even though they're about the same age.

Dustin, 8, is frustrated because he and his brother are ALWAYS fighting, and he doesn't know how to fix it.

Every family and every situation is different, but these kinds of problems are generally called "sibling rivalry." A rivalry is a competition between groups or individuals that goes on and on over time. Your school and a nearby school may have a long-standing sports rivalry. Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy have their own rivalry going on. Even though Harry always wins in the end, Draco never stops trying to get the best of him.

In the same way, it may seem like you and a brother or sister are always trying to get the best of each other, and this can make you feel jealousy, tension, or anger towards him or her. The results of these feelings can be regular fights and arguments, long periods of "the silent treatment," and, eventually, years of resentment.

Even though sibling rivalries are totally natural, they can cause big problems within your family and especially hurt your relationship with a parent. But here's the good news: there are lots of things you and your clan can do to keep the peace and deal with the issues that might be causing sibling rivalry.

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