Sibling Rivalry:10 Common Reasons why Siblings Fight

Siblings are people you trust, people you confide in when there’s no else to look out for you. They are people you know will always have your back no matter what. That been said, the one thing that is inherent in all sibling relationships is fighting. Fighting among siblings is like this unsaid universal fact that just cannot be left out of the sibling relationship equation. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. If you have siblings, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Siblings get involved in all sorts of fights- some verbal, some physical; some intense, some superficial. The occurrences of these fights may vary from one sibling relationship to another, depending on the different households. It also depends, to some degree, on how strict your parents are about fighting (although this factor seldom has a controlling effect). Most urban households have two children for whom there are just that one sibling to fight with. However, there are households with three, four, or maybe even more number of children in the house, and oh boy, that takes the fights between them to a whole new level. They start getting divided into teams and whatnot, trying to get one up on the others, involving all sorts of politics into it. It’s a mess. More than that, it becomes a nightmare for the parents as well. The stricter parents, in some cases, are more effective in resolving or controlling these fights. More often than not, these squabbles are over really petty issues and rise up from one of the lot randomly irritating the other (because, duh, it’s fun). Here are some of the reasons why siblings fight so much:

10. Jealousy


It is very rare for two people to have the same qualities, whether good or bad. Similarly, two siblings seldom have the same qualities. While one may be good at academics, other may be good at sports; while one may be good at music, other may be good at dancing. This, sometimes, leads to one being jealous of the other due to one thing or another. This jealousy may sometimes play its part in a situation and spark a fight between siblings.

9. Competition


This is probably the most common cause of fights, and I’m talking about just between siblings. There may be a case when siblings may be good at the same or similar things and thus a sense of competition is bound to arise between them. Say, one wins a medal or a trophy or even a certificate for something the other sibling is good at too, it is enough to sour things up between them. The other one then tries to get back at that them in whatever way they deem fit and, well, we’ve got a fight.

8. Difference in age

Age Difference

It is generally seen that most households have siblings with an age gap of 4-5 years as parents often decide that they would wait for their first child to become somewhat independent and self-sufficient to an extent before trying for the next child. This age gap, in today’s times, can serve as the reason for communication breakdown between siblings and often lead to fights. One younger sibling has difficulty understanding that the older one has different priorities in life than them and thus cannot comprehend their choices at times which leads to quarrels between them. Parents, again, have a huge role to play in order to bridge that gap.


7. Stress


We live in times when the term ‘stress’ has become an indispensable part of our lives. This stress can be due to thousands of different reasons and it is this stress that can be trigger to fights between any two people, including siblings. It just takes for one sibling in that mood of teasing or irritating the other and , boom, before you know it, they’re fighting.

6. Parental Praise


Most of them don’t say it out loud, but all children crave for parental attention and praise. And I mean all. Especially the sort of praise they get when the parents compare on sibling to another. Some of you might be thinking that’s bad parenting and I totally agree with you, but come on, all parents do I some time or the other. This, again, leads to fights as one of the siblings gets his ego hurt and feels left out of the party. This can be prevented by parents, by leaving the negligence out and following proper parenting norms.


5. The Television Remote


If you have a sibling, you have most probably fought with them over the possession of the television remote at least once, if not more. It is one of those cliché issues that sibling fights in different homes happens. Most houses have just one television (even if they have two, there’s always a bigger one) in the living and, somehow, siblings have the urge to watch the television at the same time. Now, obviously, they feel like watching different channels and as soon as that happens, all reasoning goes out the window and the fight commences. Usually, the stronger one wins while the other goes crying to the mother.

4. Sharing food stored in the refrigerator

Siblings Fighting over Hamburger

Now, we all know how much we love our refrigerator. Not because it adds that special look to the kitchen, but because it helps us in those odd times of hunger and silences our growling stomachs. But what about those times when you and your sibling both are hungry and you mother left just one delicious meal for both of you to share? Would you act like intellectual humans and divide it equally amongst yourself? Of course not. You’d fight to get more than just your half. Open refrigerator doors have probably been silent spectators to more sibling fights than any human.

3. Unequal treatment

Unequal treatment

This is another classic reason for fights between siblings. Siblings often get unequal treatments when it comes to various things- be it the amount of pocket money they get, the of clothes their parents their parents but them or even the hugs the parents give them. Whenever one gets something from their parents or relatives, no matter if the other needs it or not, he/she just has to have it. Sometimes, though ideally it shouldn’t happen but, parents favor one child over the other and that’s just another reasons for differences to arise between them.

2. Giving each other their space


This reason becomes is more dominant in teenage siblings. They often do not understand that, sometimes, the other person needs their personal space and feel the need to be left alone. When that is not respected, it can be an irritating factor and can fuel a fight which neither of the two siblings intended to start. Teenagers have shorter fuses and lead more complex lives than children and therefore, need their space to figure and sort out. Siblings need to be there to understand and support one another.

1. Touching or taking the other’s stuff


There are some things in life that we are overly possessive of. It may be toys, their phones, their clothes, their personal diaries, or whatever and when someone (especially their sibling) so much as touches it, it is definitely inviting trouble. More often than not, instead of explaining it to them calmly not to touch their stuff, they start not just fights but full-fledged battles which just go on and on. The solution: don’t touch each other private stuff.


Those of you who have siblings will agree with me that, all said and done, the relationship you have with a sibling is unparalleled in every aspect of a human relationship. It’s probably one of the closest bonds we have. Perhaps, that’s the very reason siblings fight so much. It brings them closer. To an extent, I’d even say that these fights are healthy; unless they aren’t handled properly and resolved properly because then it may even drive the siblings apart and that’s just sad It’s the love siblings have for each other that keeps them closely packed together despite all those fights. No matter how old we become, the fights with our siblings carry on throughout our life.


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Shreyas Bhayana

An engineering student who would just about write on any topic that has some potential. Though, music would always have a special place. Originally from Noida (Delhi-NCR), currently in Patiala, Punjab.

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