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Why Siblings Hate Each Other? (A Big Question)

Why Siblings Hate Each Other? (A Big Question)

Parental care is what every child needs. This is what siblings fight for from the early stages of life. Below are some important reasons for why siblings hate each other:

  • Parents’ favoritism causes fights among siblings.
  • Attention-seeking behavior leads to sibling rivalry.
  • Defining their individuality is why kids fight.
  • Parenting styles are linked with fighting siblings.
  • Parents’ Favoritism can cause sibling rivalry.
  • Viewing a sibling as a Threat.
  • Family Dynamics is a reason for sibling rivalry.
  • Developmental stage of a child can cause rivalry.
  • Past Unresolved Issues can arouse sibling rivalry.
  • Fighting with siblings can be habitual behavior.

The Big W: Why Sibling Rivalry Occurs

There are many reasons for why siblings hate each other and fight. However, in every way the role of parents is the most important in these situations. Parents should know their authority and how to use it positively. In this way, they can cater the problems and issues of their kids easily. If you are thinking what to do when one sibling hates the other, then you should know what are the major reasons for this behavior of children. Some of the major reasons for sibling rivalry to occur are as under:

1. Parents’ favoritism causes fights among siblings!

This is the most common cause of sibling rivalry! Sometimes, parents favor one child more. This leads to feelings of jealousy among the other siblings. They start believing that their parents do not love them. This also arouses inferiority complexes among children from early stages.

As a result of all this, children start competing with their siblings. When this competition takes on a negative outlook, it manifests itself in the form of unhealthy sibling rivalry.

1. Attention-seeking behavior leads to sibling rivalry!

The most common reason due to which siblings fight with each other is to gain the attention of the parents. Children realize that their parents get worried when they fight. They also observe that the parents become more attentive towards them. This is why most kids start fighting when parent/s are talking on a phone or having some personal time of their own.

2. Defining their individuality is why kids fight!

Childhood is a period of exploration and discovery. Children continuously seek to identify and define their talents and abilities. They want their parents and other adults to identify them as unique individuals. They want themselves to be seen as different from their siblings. All these thoughts form the basics of why siblings hate each other. In other words, children develop such feelings towards their siblings in order to show adults that they are different.

3. Parenting styles are linked with fighting siblings!

Controlled parenting style and disinterested parenting style are both negative when it comes to why siblings hate each other. Such parents never intervene in the situations faced by the kids. As a result, their kids engage in fights. When parents act as mediators, then the chances of fights among siblings also decline.

Similarly, there are families where parents think and exhibit that it is normal that siblings to fight with each other. In such families, sibling rivalry is considered a usual style of interaction. Such parents emphasize that resolving conflicts with siblings allows kids to deal with other people outside the house. Therefore, such children tend to engage in sibling rivalry actions quite frequently.

4. Viewing A Sibling as a Threat!

Sometimes elder siblings see a new baby in the family as a threat from the beginning. They presume that the attention they were receiving will be divided. Therefore, they start harboring negative feelings towards the new sibling. This leads to fighting with siblings as adults as well.

5. Family Dynamics is a reason for sibling rivalry!

Family dynamics also play a pivotal role in answering why siblings hate each other. Families that do not spend quality family time with each other experience sibling rivalry more often. Children of such families engage in conflict more. In the same way, talking loudly or shouting is considered a normal thing. Such values are then incorporated in the kids’ behavior as well.

Families that spend time together (family meals, family activities, family games) encourage positive ways to resolve conflicts. Such families tend to develop strong bonding with each other. They have more positive and encouraging collection of memories with each other. Hence little to no sibling rivalry occurs in such families.

6. Developmental stage of a child can cause rivalry!

Every child is different when it comes to the developmental stages. Different kids attain different developmental milestones in different ways. Similarly, there are different age spans when such milestones are learned. For instance, you cannot expect two toddlers to learn to share at the same time.

Sometimes, the developmental stage of the child is not mature enough. Therefore, he or she cannot understand positive ways of getting the parents’ attention. In the same way, the child may have problem in getting along with other kids around him or her. As a result, the child start picking fights with his or her sibling.

7. Past Unresolved Issues can arouse sibling rivalry!

Sometimes it happens that one child keeps on remembering the past unresolved issues with their siblings. For example, parents might have favored the other child over him/her. Such instances can be of smaller nature for parents. But they are major instances for the unfavored child. This can be seen as a common reason why siblings hate each other more often.

In the same way, one sibling may continue to tease the other sibling on regular basis. Parents also do not make that teasing sibling to stop. As a result, the child being teased starts developing and holding grudges against the teasing sibling. In the longer run, these grudges manifest themselves in the form of fights and hatred.

8. Fighting with siblings can be habitual behavior

Sibling rivalry can also become a habit among kids. In such cases, the siblings remain highly alert even for slight arousal. Once they see that there is a slight chance that the other sibling can hurt them, they start fighting at once. Past negative interactions play a very critical role in this regard.

What is Sibling Rivalry

Have you ever thought why our kids, whom we proudly say as our flesh and blood, usually go for each other’s flesh and blood on daily basis! Usually, we start with why siblings hate each other, fight with each other, and how we can stop this fight. I know different families that have sibling conflict examples in their day-to-day routines. However, it is important to understand what is sibling rivalry as well.

Up until parents have one child, things go smoothly for them. Their entire love, time and attention is focused on the only child. However, when the second child arrives, things began to change. Now, the elder child is no longer the only child. He or she now has either a brother or a sister. Now there will instances of sharing everything, including the parents. Feelings of jealousy and competition arise as soon as there are two kids in a family. Therefore, it is important to understand why siblings hate each other in detail.

why siblings hate each other
Sibling pillow fight

Although this is a frustrating experience for most of the parents, still it is a phase that will ultimately pass away. Some people view this phase as a sibling hatred syndrome. They also make the parents anxious by announcing that their kids are displaying sibling rivalry disorder symptoms. However, this is not the actual reality. Sibling rivalry is a way through which children gradually learn to respect others’ perspectives. It also allows children to learn the basic skill of cooperation with each other. Gradually children learn to live in harmony with each other. They develop close and strong bonding as siblings. They utilize positive ways to go through conflicts among them.

why siblings hate each other
Sibling fighting


Conclusively, rivalry among siblings is not, in itself, a bad experience. You can handle sibling rivalry with love, attention and authority. Parents need to understand each of their child individually. This is because every child has different needs. Similarly, every child needs to be dealt with separately. If you are dealing with why siblings hate each other, you should focus on finding the underlying reasons.

Go for our next article on how you can deal with sibling rivalry in a positive manner!

We would be very happy to hear from you on the comments sections of our Facebook page. You can also visit our Quora page. Feel free to leave your comments and queries about why siblings hate each other!!!

About The Author

Affaf Amjad

Having an MPhil in Applied psychology and being a mother of three kids, I have always tried to try and test different psychological interventions and approaches in the day-to-day routine of my kids. Sharing my results and effective strategies with parents around the globe is the my main aim as a writer.

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