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Of siblings and face-offs

There could be many reasons over which siblings fight. But a liitle help from parents could help, writes Reema Gehi.

sex and relationships Updated: Aug 22, 2013 12:27 IST
Reema Gehi
Reema Gehi
Hindustan Times

"I'm good at studies …so what if bhaiya is good at sports," justifies 11-year-old Saakshi Tanna. Mind you, she may not be the only sibling worrying about who's better in their parents' eyes.

Various reasons can be attributed to fights between siblings. Most siblings experience some degree of jealousy or competition when family members show bias towards one.

This also happens if one is better than the other in studies or extra-curricular activities. Many a time, this can flare into bickering or squabbles.

Parents feel In such cases, parents often become the scapegoats and wonder why children born to the same parents thrive on such rivalry or jealousy.

Preeti Ahluwalia, mother of two girls, aged 15 and 10, confesses, "I feel there's more competition between siblings when they belong to the same sex. As a parent, it becomes very stressful to handle it and strike a balance."

Her story proves something that's not uncommon today. There are times when competition between sisters reaches a point where jealousy creeps in.

She says, "My younger daughter, Rhea, is a very good singer and has performed at several shows. My older daughter, Shweta, was very fond of singing when she was younger. "

"Ever since my younger daughter took an interest in singing, she stopped getting her share of attention. She rarely sings today."

Though it's a little disheartening for Ahluwalia to accept the fact that her daughters are constantly at loggerheads with each other. She's confident that they will sail through this phase with time and some maturity.

Accept it Vinay Prabhu, professor of psychology, feels, "First of all, a parent must learn to accept that a term like sibling rivalry is normal and healthy to a certain extent." He believes that minor conflicts between siblings only makes them stronger individuals. It also helps them deal with the outside world in a better way.

"A small tiff with a sibling doesn't mean the end of their relationship.

"When the second child is due, the first child should be mentally prepared for his or her arrival. Otherwise, the child will show resentment towards the newborn."

Khushnuma Khambatta, wife of artist and sculptor, Arzan Khambatta, is mother of a 12-year-old boy, Pezanne, and a nine-year-old girl, Tianna.

She warns, "Never compare your children to one another or to their friends either. One must make children feel special and try to tap their true potential."

Celebrity sisters A fine example of secure adulthood, bearing in mind that they are sisters in the same profession, are twins Tapur and Tupur Chatterjee.

They give all the credit to their grandfather. He made it clear to every one at home that the two should not be compared but treated as two individuals. 28-year-old Tapur says, "Some people like Tupur's nature and some like mine.

"We don't argue about petty things.. why a common friend is sharing a secret with her and not with me? I think we've grown out of that stage."

She does admit, however, that there's a feeling of slight jealousy when she loses out on a plum assignment to her twin. She adds, "But that's only a momentary feeling. Besides, she's my sister.. I'd rather she have it than someone else."

From a pair of designer jeans to competing over who's the bigger apple of their parents' eyes, anything could be reason for a tiff.

But it's the parents who play a major role in making children feel secure. Being a little more understanding, giving genuine praise and instilling confidence in children, can lead to a secure sibling relationship.

Like Prabhu stresses, "It's the thumb rule: to avoid comparisons and emphasise each one's strengths and true potential."

First Published: Jun 15, 2007 14:55 IST