chapter  15
8 Pages

Th e Sibling Battleground: Friend or Foe?

Many, if not most, children the ages of those in these groups, fi nd themselves in the midst of a confl ict with their brother or sister and have no idea how to extricate themselves. Th ey do not have the tools necessary to negotiate sibling confl ict. Oft en this is the result of residue of earlier sibling rivalry such that current confl icts are informed by old resentments. Sometimes the child provokes his sibling purposely. At other times he unwittingly does things that set the sibling off on a course of irritation and retaliation. Th ere are yet other occasions when the instigations, accusations, and retaliations of sibling rivalry are simply on pernicious automatic pilot. Th ere are children who get ensnared in a confl ict which they didn’t do anything to instigate. Th ey become infl amed by the situation when their parents blame them for engineering the whole thing, when the sibling was actually the mastermind. Sometimes, sibling wars are more insidious and develop gradually as a result of parental favoritism for the more able or more likable child. In Western culture, sibling rivalry is uncommonly common. Th e following letter gives voice to one kind of sibling battle.