Sibling relationships can have positive or negative qualities. Beneficial or positive aspects include companionship, similarity, admiration, sociable behavior, nurturing, affection, and intimacy. Siblings can be role models and best friends, as well as collaborators, co-consiprators, playmates, counselors, and objects of pride. However, negative characteristics also arise, including antagonism, conflict, quarrelling, competition, dominance, and parental favoritism. Unfortunately, sometimes siblings are tormentors or sources of envy as well as companions. Regardless, most children spend 33% of their free time with their siblings by the time they are eleven years old. It has been said that siblings are “partners for life”; parents eventually pass away, and spouses come later in life, but siblings are with you the whole way through.
Sibling rivalry is an almost inevitable part of any sibling relationship. However, it is not all bad. Sibling relationships are relationships among equals, and they prepare children for peer relationships and sociability. Fighting involves learning how to resolve conflicts, and childhood quarrels with siblings train kids to learn to negotiate. After all, you are stuck with your siblings, so you better learn to get along with them! In general, bonds between siblings grow stronger with age. Warmth increases and conflicts fade. In particular, children who fought a lot as kids become closer as adults and often more emotionally skilled.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, but it is found that children who practice good conflict-resolution skills at home carry them into the classroom and later the workplace.
Favoritism by parents is another aspect of sibling relationships. It was found in a study that 65% of mothers and 70% of father exhibit preference for one child, usually the older one¹. Consequently, second-tier children tend to be sadder and have a lower self-esteem. However, siblings often use favoritism to their advantage. For example, other siblings may use the favorite sibling as a means of coercing parents into allowing them to do something or get something.¹study conducted by Katherine Conger at the University of California, Davis (New Science of Siblings, 2007)