STOP YOUR FIGHTING! Or maybe not? The benefits of sibling rivalry!

Mid summer is here. The hot sun is shining. The pools and beaches are bustling. Vacations are in full swing and parents are collectively going nuts from siblings fighting!

I have fond and funny memories of summer battles with my brother. I’m still baffled at the fact that I convinced him to ride all the way to North Carolina on the floor of the back seat! Don’t feel too badly, I did give him some pillows (I guess the bigger question is why my parents allowed this and was it even legal in the mid eighties??) Despite our battles (and trust me there were some for the record books), my brother holds a place in my heart like no one else can. Even though I’m still perplexed at how a biological sibling of mine could like to eat anything with pickled flavoring, I’m warmly reminded of our childhood bond when I see my daughters belly laugh at each other and whisper to each other. I’m not naive to the fact that one day my home will be filled with blood curling screams over trivial subjects like stolen blue jeans, but for now I like that the majority of the time they can work out their concerns. We have always tried (unless safety is a concern) to encourage them to work it out. Their reasoning with each other and their collective solutions often surprise and amuse me. I came across a great article (the link is below) that has some really interesting facts about how siblings shape ones personality and how even arguing helps improve social skills.  The article states that “on average, siblings between 3 and 7 years old engage in some kind of conflict 3.5 times an hour. Kids in the 2-to-4 age group top out at 6.3–or more than one clash every 10 minutes.” How do your kids fare? Don’t fret if they seem to argue more, the research states that children that argue with siblings learn conflict resolution that translates to the classroom later on. So all that fighting is actually teaching your children something!!

My favorite part of the article is this:

From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to; how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys. Our spouses arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents eventually leave us. Our siblings may be the only people we’ll ever know who truly qualify as partners for life. “Siblings,” says family sociologist Katherine Conger of the University of California, Davis, “are with us for the whole journey.”

I love that statement and it is so true. Our siblings are forever with us or as my neighbor reminds her children, are your “forever friends.” So if your children are driving you crazy and ready to rumble, keep this Time magazine article bookmarked and remind yourself they are learning skills that they’ll be able to translate into life skills for years to come.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

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