Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sibling Rivalry: Not So Much of a Good Thing

We are proud to share this great commentary by our very own High School Co-op student.  Thank you Evelin for your thoughts and unique perspective on such an important topic.
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I found myself reading this New York Times article and thinking that it is a strange idea, that the worst type of bully can be your brother or sister. As a child in elementary school, I was constantly bullied. I’ve been called names, I’ve been teased, I’ve had my possessions stolen by these bullies, and I’ve even gotten pushed around physically. When you hear the word “bully,” it’s always that same image that comes to mind; a school, a playground, or even a summer camp. You never stop and that hey, maybe, just maybe, both the victim and the bully are living under the same roof.

I have two younger siblings, between us there is a huge age gap. There is definitely some sibling rivalry between us. My sister and I get along well, but when it comes to me and my brother, we definitely don’t see eye to eye. Sometimes I feel as if he’s purposely out to get me, and our fights consist of everything from name-calling and tattling to physically trying to aggravate the other. Of course, since I am the older one, I tend to hear the line “how old are you, and how old is he?” way too often. I feel like my brother is getting away with every single situation, while I’m getting pinned as the bad guy, even if he really did start the fight.

Of course, the majority of the time parents shrug off siblings fighting as normal, and until I read this article, I hadn’t considered otherwise. However, I realized that maybe our fighting is doing more damage to us than we think. Perhaps it will eventually take a toll on the mental health of either my brother or I. After all, the only thing our fighting accomplishes is unhappiness, retracted privileges, and bruises. Although I absolutely cannot imagine the fighting stopping completely, I am definitely attempting to think twice about how I act around my brother, because in truth, I do care about him as well as myself. Maybe picking fewer fights will stop us both from having psychological breakdowns down the road, who knows?

Just know, siblings are going to fight no matter what. Though parents should be watchful and never let it go too far, because that is when rivalry turns into bullying, and isn’t bullying something we want to keep out of our homes? 

by Evelin