Sibling rivalry is normal. As long as one child feels less attended to by a parent in favor of his sibling, there is bound to be some contention. Every child wants the undivided attention and affection from the parents. So when one feels the love for him is diminishing because another one came into the picture, the two or three are likely not to see eye to eye. Why did mummy buy the teddy bear for Ben and not me? Why does she call him pet names but just shouts my given name? Why does dad play a lot with Sally and not me? Why does dad seem more interested in her welfare than mine? Being a young sibling can be difficult.
Parents do their best to keep the rivalry between siblings under control by being ‘fair’ to all. But as human as they are, as hard as they try, the wards can tell who daddy’s favorite is and who mummy’s doll is. And they resent each other for it.
Some are able to get over it with time and grow up to be very good friends as well. They recall their contentious childhood moments and laugh over it. They were kids, they would admit; but they know better now. Unfortunately, not all siblings get over it. They may act as if they have outgrown it so they have moved on. All it takes is a trigger for the resentments to resurface.
I keep hearing and reading stories about siblings coveting each other’s possessions with the reason that one had more attention than the other when they were younger. At the young age, we often see it as ‘cute’ and dismiss their reactions saying it’s just a phase. But when it rears its ugly head later in life, no one wants to accept his role in the turn of events by downplaying the childhood signs.
From a man telling lies about his brother to his wife in order to break their marriage because the brother had more attention from their parents to a lady destroying her sister’s marriage by taking advantage of the husband’s weakness to conceive his baby because the sister had always gotten what she wanted, the stories abound.
So when do we draw the line between the normal phase and the abnormal? Which red flags are parents to be aware of as ‘crossing the line’? How can we as siblings let go of childhood grudges and have each other’s back as adults? How sure are we that our own blood thinks well of us and wishes the best for us?
I love my siblings wholeheartedly. Although we always didn’t see eye-to-eye and we still don’t sometimes, we’ve grown much closer and talk about almost everything. It is my prayer that our adult lives do not break the bond that we’ve nurtured so far. It is my constant prayer that we all become who God created us to be and we support one other with everything we’ve got.
Do you have siblings? Did you have an ugly quarrel in the past whose memories cause you to resent them and wish ill of them? Maybe things are great among you. It still doesn’t stop the enemy from watering dormant seeds of contempt lying on your heart. It is better to do away with them altogether. Pray about them and forgive them. Like it or not, they are your blood and when the whole world stands against you, you’d love to have them standing with you.
Parents, don’t fuel the feud among your kids. It could damage them forever. Siblings, love one another and let go all of all resentments. Be one another’s keeper.
© Josephine Amoako 2016