Adult Sibling Rivalry – How To Deal With It

It seems like a pass time where your brother or sister use to pick on you, telling you that you aren’t good enough. But when it continues past the making fun, and it grows into adulthood. I get it, sibling squabbles don’t automatically disappear. Arguments, competitiveness can lead you right into adulthood, if you allow it to.

This can lead to a lot of tension within the family, especially the parents. Whether you are a parent who wants to see an end to your grownup children’s rivalry, or you are the one who is in the middle of said unending rivalry with your brother or sister, taking the necessary steps to keep the peace can go a long way towards having a cohesive and harmonious family.

For Parents/Family

Avoid Comparisons

Noone likes to be compared, especially siblings. They feel like you favor another sibling or don’t think that you measure up to the other one. The truth is, children always want to make their parents proud, they want to please you, and it doesn’t matter the age, they will always try to win your approval and for your praise. The worst thing you can do, especially in adulthood is comparing the children they have had, the job that they have, the spouses that they have married, the home they live in, or the financial status they have. This is the WORST thing you can do.

Communicate With Your Kids

Communication is the slice of life. Sometimes your kids do not realize how their interaction or their fights affect the rest of the family. Simply sitting down as a family and having a discussion about the situation(s) can help. Having an open-ended, none biased talk will be beneficial for all involved. Try coming up with solutions for their rivalry. Helping to come up with ways to avoid fights and conflicts is the best way to get around this.

Stay Out Of The Way

Nothing is worse than being caught in the middle of two people going at it. Clearly, state to your children that you will NOT be taking sides and that you do not want to be in any part of their disagreements. Please note, this doesn’t mean you can’t offer sound advice and lend an ear when needed. Eventually, they will know that’s how far it will go, and they will end up not even coming to you with their problems.


This is probably a big step to do. Encourage them to see each other’s points of view. Everyone has the right to feel the way they do, and they also have the right to express the way they feel. Everyone brings their own baggage to the table and personality to the sibling table. Understanding one another and their feelings are important. Learning to embrace them is another important attribute.

Look For Help

If you have done everything you can to help, and nothing seems to be working, then I suggest you find yourselves a neutral person to assist them in working their problems. A family therapist is a great option because she can work through emotions and find a resolution to the issue.

Lose The Labels

We don’t think of these as anything but a label “the athletic one” “the smart one” or even “our wild child” this creates competition amongst the kids. By ditching the labels, we give our “not so athletic” child to shine. The key here is to cheer on positive attributes, such as teamwork, persistence, and kindness. Rooting for each other instead of competing for their parent’s approval.

Make Respect A Non-negotiable Rule

No name calling and absolutely no hitting or any other physical aggression is allowed. Encourage your children to really listen to the other’s side of things and give them the respect they would like for themselves. You know, treat others how you’d like to be treated kind of deal with help put this rule into flourishing. You’d be surprised at how many adults still resort back to name calling and hitting as if it was always an okay thing to do.

With these strategies in place, you’ll be able to keep sibling rivalry and fighting to a minimum. Especially adult sibling rivalry. These needed to be tended to when they were children, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t be fixed in adulthood.

For Siblings

Don’t Change Your Siblings

Each of you has your own personality, likes and dislikes. You are not the same person. Instead, embrace the differences. Accepting and embracing these differences will help make you realize that your relationship is unique and that it’s a good thing you are different.

Do Not Compete

This is a tough one I know because we are born to be competitive. Granted this doesn’t mean you will not get jealous of your siblings’ successes, especially if these are something that you would like to have as well. The best thing to do is to keep this to yourself and congratulate your sibling on whatever adventure they accomplished.

Talk It Out

Spend some time where you can sit down together without any outside distractions and has out any problems you may have in your relationships. Then, together with work on coming up with some solutions that will be beneficial for all. Family functions can be a stirring spot for bringing up emotions, so if you have to take turns going to family functions might be the best alternative.

Spend Some Time Together

Spending some time together in a neutral location is a great idea. Meet for coffee once a week or have dinner at a restaurant once a month. Getting away together to create shared experiences that are away from life events that can cause conflict. It also helps when you are in a public place, people tend to be on their best behavior and it prevents you from coming to blow-ups.

At the end of the day, adult rivalry isn’t healthy, for anyone. Parents and the siblings involved need to know that solutions can happen, they just need to be practiced.

Website | + posts

    Leave A Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *