“ A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care…”
Parents of teenagers may be troubled by the amount of fighting, both verbal and physical, that goes on between their children. This is a common problem in homes with adolescents and many parents find it difficult and upsetting. One father said, “They are constantly bickering and yelling. There is no peace in the house anymore. They won’t listen to me, and nothing I do seems to have any effect on them. Why do they hate each other so?
The Origins of Sibling Rivalry
By “sibling rivalry” we mean the antagonism or hostility between brothers and/or sisters which manifests itself in circumstances such as in the common children’s family fights (which begin with a pulling of the sibling’s hair or with the unwillingness to share a prized toy, and which try the patience of parents) to much more serious cases such as the permanent enmity between adult siblings, or the previously mentioned Biblical case of the murder of Abel by Cain.
Why do siblings fight?
· They fight because they want parent’s attention, and the parents has only so much time, attention and patience to give
· They fight because they are jealous: “He got a new bike. I didn’t. They must love him more than they love me.”
· They fight over ordinary teasing which is a way of testing the effects of behaviour and words on another person” “He called me first…” “But she called me first”
· They fight because they are growing up in competitive society that teaches them to win is to be better: “I saw it first.” “I beat you to the water.”
Adolescents fight for the same reasons younger children fight. But adolescents are bigger, louder and better equipped physically and intellectually to hurt and be hurt by words and actions.
From a parent’s point of view, they “ought” to be old enough to stop that kind of behaviour. What parents may forget is that adolescents are under pressure from many different directions....