Dealing With Sibling Rivalry


Wonder why you’re reading about dealing with sibling rivalry? I think that the biggest fights and disagreements I have ever had all my life has been with my siblings. Really don’t know why. I guess it is because you probably can stay away from the bad guys in school, church, work or wherever… but your siblings are always in your face.

Sibling rivalry goes way back to the Bible days. Remember the story of Esau and Jacob. I would think that what would have made it more difficult for Esau is the fact that this robbing of his blessing was done by his own brother. And that is the way it is with most people. Back then (before Jesus changed my story… amen?!), anytime my siblings offend me in a way that is so painful, my first thought is: “why does it have to be you that I would pursue back to heaven – my own flesh and blood?” Lol… I really used to feel bad that I’d have to deal with my siblings in such a harsh way.

Well, Jesus changed my life! Hehehe! And here are some of what God has taught me about relating with siblings…. it has made my relationship with my siblings or anyone else at that loads better.

  • First, even though they are your siblings… they are as human.

They fall short and make mistakes, just like you do too.  And there is a limit to how much you can try to control their actions and in-actions. Growing up, I used to be so upset when I am trying to correct any of my siblings and they just won’t listen… especially when I know I am right, like in line with God’s words. One time I thought about Jesus’ siblings… well yeah, Jesus has siblings (Mark 6:3). I thought about not all of them were exactly his followers and supporters. His disciples were majorly outsiders. And yet, Jesus kept on going. He didn’t pursue them back to heaven.

  • Your siblings are different individuals with their own choices too.

We pray for them and support them and hope that they turn out right but don’t allow offence into your heart if they don’t. Learn to respect their decisions and choices. This doesn’t mean you won’t pray for them or you’d give up on them, just learn to know when correction is leading to offence. This is a number one ground rule when it comes to dealing with siblings rivalry.

  • God commands that we love our neighbours.

Somehow we forget our siblings are a part of those ‘neighbours’ I am very guilty of this too. You get to church and hug every single person… you know, bubbling with God’s love, pouring it out to others but it is been ages since you showed such warmth to your sister or brother. There is the tendency to take our siblings for granted. Don’t do that. Be deliberate about your love for them. Pick up the phone and call them from time to time if you stay apart from each other. If you stay together, have some moments where you are just bonding with them.

  • Be proactive in forgiveness.

I just love the NLT rendition of Colossians 3:13 – “Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Your sister would always borrow that your new fine church shoe and your brother would always travel back to school with your new sweatshirt. What I am trying to say is this: Offence would always come because like I earlier said, they are human. What you have to do is to make allowance for them… It helps! When I am offended, I just keep telling myself, forgive… that fellow probably didn’t mean or is not in a good mood or is hungry or hasn’t slept well. Just give yourself reasons to forgive people.

  • Don’t give room for envy and hate.

There is this thing called favouritism that parents do and I don’t think it is a healthy practice because it tears siblings apart. So if you are the ‘favourite’ child of your parents, try to not make your siblings feel less important… if they feel less important in the family, their reaction would shock you. So when your mom says things like, ‘oh, you are the best child I could ever pray for…’ or ‘you are better than all your brothers and sisters combined with all their ancestors’, don’t allow pride set in. Speak up for them, make their own good sides more pronounced. Don’t start joining forces with your parents to shame your siblings or make them feel less of themselves. If you aren’t able to do right there, please make time and explain how much they mean to the family (even if you don’t think they are doing that well), then you can explain how they can get better. Avoid unhealthy comparisons like a plague, it destroys families.

And when you become a parent, mbok... don't compare your children. Click To Tweet

If you like one more than the other, let it be in your heart.. don’t turn it to the national anthem in your house. Parents should unite to bring up each of their children in the way of the Lord. What comes my heart when a mother (I don’t know why mothers are often guilty of this) puts down her child is this: It tells of how you’ve performed as a parent. So instead of announcing it and causing fights at home, pray and look into how to make the child better.

By the way, I don’t know if it gets better with age or it is just the love of God and His light in our hearts, my siblings and I get on so well these days. I am shocked at myself, lol. We never used to be this peaceful… anyways thank God for Jesus!

Kindly leave comments on how you have dealt or are dealing with siblings rivalry. We’d all be waiting to learn from you, yes… you! Don’t worry, we all have had siblings drama… no matter how weird the stories are, share so long as we get to learn. I hope this blessed you.

Much love guys!

Ozioma Paul


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