Sibling Rivalry: It Happened To You Too?

We went from best friends to sworn enemies!

By Prevelinaa Suresh / 30 June 2021

SiblingImage via Scary Mommy 

  • 5 young adults share their experiences of battling with sibling rivalries.
  • 3 parents provide some insights on how they handle sibling rivalry among their children.
  • Every relationship is worth saving, together let’s learn from their experiences.

Admit it! We always tricked our younger siblings into believing that we equally divided the chocolates.

Simply put, sibling rivalry is the animosity, jealousy, and competition that happens between siblings. Right now, everyone with siblings would be thinking, “Been there, done that!”, because we all can relate to this in a heartbeat.

After parents, siblings are supposed to be each other’s #1 supporter right? So how did love fall to the backseat as rivalry slipped into the spotlight? We are obviously taught to love and cherish each other, but sometimes circumstances can turn us into rivals.

It can all start from just fighting for toys, then one leads to another, and before you know it, you have become each other’s arch enemies! This is a very sad but true fact. Have you ever looked back and wondered how it could have been prevented or resolved?

Today, we take a look at some of the experiences of those who’ve been affected by sibling rivalry and some tips from parents on how they deal with sibling rivalry among their children. Shedding light on their stories might help you get through your battles or inspire you to work on yourself.


Naomi, 22

Sibling rivalry Pokok.AsiaImage via Naomi

“Being the youngest, I kind of caused this rivalry. My parents always left me in charge whenever they had to head out because despite being the youngest, I’d always make sure my siblings and I get the work done. It’s given that my elder siblings weren’t happy about this.

Luckily after years of quarrelling and bickering, things improved with better understanding. Truth be told, the pressure my parents exerted on me back then, made me into a person who can work under pressure and it is the same for my siblings. It eventually shaped us into better people despite fuelling our insecurities and whatnot.

I’d advise siblings out there to be more understanding especially towards their younger siblings. As for parents, putting a certain amount of pressure on your kids is a necessity but avoid doing so when they’re still young as it would have an impact on their mental health.”


Fadzlynna, 20

Sibling rivalry Pokok.AsiaImage via Fadzlynna

“The rivalry was between me and my younger brother. I can’t say for sure when it started but it has always been there.

It all began when my parents started being biased, my brother was the only boy in the family so he was very privileged. My parents would always pay extra attention to him and would even overlook things whenever he is at fault.

I think this is common because I’ve seen many people with the same scenario. I wish my parents would have treated us equally and that my brother would take responsibility for his mistakes.

Whether it’s two or ten kids, parents should always treat them fairly, this plays a huge role in their emotional and mental health. Children should also begin speaking to their parents politely if they feel that they’re being mistreated.”


Cassandra, 24

Sibling rivalry Pokok.Asia

Image via Bamboozle; Cassandra preferred to be anonymous

“This is about my elder brother and me. We’re only a year apart, so we were always compared to each other ever since high school. We would always compete to be the better sibling in overall achievements.

I think the main reason for this rivalry is the pressure our parents put on us. As we grew older, our relationship became somewhat better because we began understanding each other’s potentials. Maybe if my parents encouraged us to do better individually instead of comparing us, my brother and I would have had a better relationship.

I hope parents stop comparing their children and teach them to lift each other in their way. Every child has a special path, so don’t expect the same results from them. Siblings are meant for having fun and sharing life stories, not rivalry.


Shi Wen, 20

Sibling rivalry Pokok.AsiaImage via Shi Wen

“I have had an ongoing rivalry with my younger brother ever since he started high school. I guess the main reason was our studies and extracurricular activities, we were both striving to be the best.

Now, it has become better as we came to an understanding that we should not compare each others’ abilities and strengths. We have our own unique strengths and many factors influence these strengths.

Maybe if my parents would’ve provided more words of encouragement, it would’ve been really helpful for us to build and help each other to succeed in our own ways. Competing against each other doesn’t bring any benefits to both parties anyway.

So, hopefully, everyone would always support their siblings rather than pulling them down. It’s always better to push and motivate each other to achieve your goals together. Also, be transparent and honest about any issues or concerns you have with them, they play important roles in helping you through many challenges in your life.”


Rutheran, 23

Sibling rivalry Pokok.Asia Image via Rutheran

“The rivalry still goes on till today between my brothers and me. It all started with the house chores. My elder and younger brothers are very laid back, and they usually do not help out, so I ended up doing all the work.

My parents never paid much attention to this matter and I was very upset. Over time, this made me very angry because I felt underappreciated. The bias in the family is the cause of this rivalry.

I just wish my parents would stand up for me and ensure the house chores and errands are fairly distributed, relieving me from some of the burdens. If only my siblings would’ve been more responsible, this rivalry would’ve been non-existent.”


Let’s Hear It From The Parents

We’ve also asked a few parents how they deal with sibling rivalry among their kids. We trust it’s not an easy task for parents to manage such a situation.  


Karen Tan, Marketing Director of ParkCity
Sibling rivalry Pokok.Asia
Image via Karen Tan

“I always ensure that my girls take turns to have some alone time with me. During this time, they will get my undivided attention to discuss their day or any problems they may be facing. I believe this creates a safe space for them to express themselves. We even have a little bedtime chat almost every night too!”


Jit Shiong, Engineer
Sibling rivalry Pokok.Asia
Image via Jit Siong

“I take no sides, being fair is the key! All siblings fight, it’s totally normal but in the end their love will surely prevail. Once my elder son bruised his brother with a Nintendo switch controller but when I threatened to send his brother away, he refused! See, he loves him after all!

It’s important to teach them the right way to deal with anger and competition. Healthy competition will actually boost the growth of the younger sibling. This is quite visible in my younger son, as he walks, talks, and learns much faster these days.


Jacqueline Ng, Numeric Profiler
Sibling rivalry Pokok.Asia
Image via Jacqueline Ng

“Sibling rivalry is nothing new to me, I face it on a daily basis thanks to my two teens who are of different genders. I do not show favouritism and punish them the same, and that is my secret!

Conflicts happen because of misunderstandings, jealousy, favouritism, and greed which eventually lead to rivalry. This is exactly why parents should never be biased!

I practice open communication at home, in which I explain the decisions I make for my kids. It’s important that they understand that they both have different wants, needs, and expectations. If they realise this, there will be no room for misunderstandings or rivalries.

I also make it very clear to them that I love them equally and they are each other’s closest kin, so they should always love and support each other.”


Final thoughts

We trust you could definitely sense the hurt and regret from some of their stories, so do you want to put yourself, your siblings, or your child in their shoes? Most of them mentioned how their parents would have made a difference.

So dear parents, don’t overlook the rivalries between your kids, intervene if you have to because your smallest act can surely fix the strain on their relationship. Sibling rivalries aren’t a life-long deal, it’s just a temporary misunderstanding. Sibling rivalries are bound to happen, but they’ll always be our closest family, so nipping these rivalries in the bud is very important!

H. Jackson Brown Jr. once said,  “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.”

Our advice? Get a nice cup of coffee, take a seat, and discuss your problems with your siblings with an open heart! If both parties choose to talk it out and work on self-improvement, that rivalry of yours will vanish in a blink.

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