Sibling rivalry

What really is this curious phenomenon that sometimes sees brothers and sisters from the same womb or family stand at daggers drawn? Beginning like child’s play but sometimes assuming very grave dimensions. Why and how does it result and what can be done to prevent or resolve it? These are questions that often fill the minds of anxious parents, saddened by the sometimes inexplicable enmity among their children.

Sibling rivalry is the marked disharmony or overt aggression among children of the same parents for one reason or other but which fundamentally stems from a pronounced and unhealthy competition amongst them, envy, superiority/inferiority complex, unjust actions from one or some, and so on.

In different schools of thought, there is a debate on whether the behavior of children is due to nature (in-born) or nurture (up-bringing), and it is the view of this writer that it can be due to both. As a premise for this article, it is important to mention that re-incarnation, though disputed in several quarters, is a fact of life, made possible through the immeasurable Grace of The Almighty Father which grants human beings several possibilities of returning to the earth which can also be called a ‘school’. The essence of this is to accumulate and learn from many and varied experiences necessary for spiritual growth and maturity and as well to make good whatever wrongs might have been made.

Bearing this in mind, every child born already comes with a certain ‘nature’ (sometimes already evident from early beginnings), attracted to his/her parents based on their mutual homogeneity or some other connection to teach or learn a lesson from them. On the other hand, children can also easily imbibe different behaviours from their environments and the many people in it through upbringing (nurture).

Thus, children from the same family can have such a mixed basket of personalities and behaviors; for example, certain children may incline towards their parents’ profession(s) while others incline towards one that is not favored by them. Some may excel better in formal academics and act conventionally, while others show no interest therein, preferring to act completely outside the box or be unconventional.

In reaction to some of these different attitudes, parents who do not understand these facts may easily expect all their children to behave in a definite way or tow a certain path, instead of recognizing, understanding and accepting their peculiar and individual personalities. Thus, without intending to, they can from early in their children’s lives, start sowing the seeds of sibling rivalry if they show a marked preference or bias for this or that child above the other(s) simply because of any of the afore-mentioned reasons.


Even amongst children, parents have a very vital role to play by helping them understand and appreciate themselves, their nature, gifts and abilities as different from those of their siblings, hence eschewing all covetousness. They should be doubly alert to ensure that co-operation, support and appreciation for one another is fostered rather than feelings of competition and superiority/inferiority, especially as some children would want to outdo one another just to get more appreciation or attention from their parents. This tendency should be nipped in the bud and those competitive energies re-directed inwards in the pursuit of noble goals by helping them focus more on striving to better their best and out-do their previous achievements instead of those of others. This is one way a healthy self-esteem can be developed, which is a strong antidote to jealousy, envy or inferiority complex (all potent fuels for sibling rivalry).

Furthermore, parents should strive to value, encourage and love their children unconditionally for who they are without of course being indulgent, because that would ultimately do them more harm than good. Weaknesses or lapses observed in one child should not be constantly compared with the strengths of the others in a negative light because indeed no two human beings are alike in terms of personal needs, path, purpose or ability. Rather, constructive criticisms given out of love will go a long way to aid them in polishing themselves and attaining their full potential in a healthy way.

Taking a look at Nature which holds many important lessons for us, we see clearly that stars never compete with one another because they know that the sky is large enough for every single one of them to shine their brightest unhindered; if we juxtapose this picture with that of the human being we would realize in an instant that we each are as the different stars; fully endowed by our Creator to shine our brightest and illumine our World, and hence have not a single need for sibling rivalry or unhealthy competition with any other human beings.

The explanation given in this article is based on the writer’s understanding of the Work “In The Light of Truth”, The Grail Message by Abd-ru-shin.
The reader is hereby invited to personally examine this Work. Copies of the Work can be obtained from any of the addresses listed here.
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