Sibling Rivalry & Competitiveness … It’s Getting Dangerous!


If you’ve been around a while, you might remember reading in November about our “baby” case of sibling rivalry. That was mostly hitting and yelling.

I was reassured that it would get better, and for the most part I guess it has. The aggressiveness with each other has pretty much become non-existant. They play together daily and Ethan even insists on getting kisses from Emma at bedtime.

I think more than ever they are now competing.

Competing for what, I don’t know?

To be first? To be best? Just so it will be fair, or maybe not fair?

Here are some examples.

We sometimes have a couple of package deliveries in a day. Emma and Ethan are now programmed (it’s like Pavlov’s dog.. the doorbell rings and they are off!) to drop whatever it is they are doing and run FULL FORCE towards the door to receive the package.

I have had discussions with them about “taking turns” and after one brings a package in I will remind them both that it is the other persons turn to get the next package. It just doesn’t matter though. They push, run, shriek and topple over things to be the first to the door.

It’s there when it comes time for dinner… “I want the purple plate Mommy!”. It goes without saying that I always give Emma the purple plate and Ethan gets the green.

The fighting goes further than the color of the place setting. They fight over who will have control of the keyboard at the computer, who is going to empty the drier (although I always have both of them do it), who gets to sit by me on the couch (which, btw, makes me not want to sit down in the same living room with them) even though I have two sides to me.

I could go on and on.

It makes me sigh and want to throw my hands up in the air.

You oftentimes will hear me say “REALLY?”.

The competition is getting dangerous.

Just today Ethan and Emma came busting out of my bedroom door to be the first to get their clothes on. Ethan has been in a clumbsy mood all week (he’s fallen down the wooden staircase 3 times this week) and while pushing through the threshold and stumbling over his own feet he fell face first into the corner of the wall.


You can still see the crease in his lump!

What’s a mom to do?

I talk to them about taking turns, being fair and I try not to show favoritism.

With them being 21 months apart their likes, wants and needs are fairly similar and I try to treat them equally.

So tell me… does it get better?

What would you do? or what have you done (that worked)?

If I don’t get help soon I may have to change Ethan’s nickname from Bubby to “Lumpy”!



  1. Oh dang, that hurts me looking at it. What a tough guy. Mine are 17 months a part but I don’t have too much trouble with it but they do have their moments. I try to intervene and tell the aggressor (normally the baby) that’s rude behavior and he is acting like a naughty boy at which he normally stops and says, “Sorry, mommy, sorry” and I tell him not to tell me he’s sorry but to tell his brother or big sister he’s sorry and give them a hug and he does. When big brother is being the aggressive one I stop him and tell him the same thing and he is more stubborn. If he refuses to apologize or is mouth or throws a fit he gets to go off for a little alone time in his room. However, typically they are really close and play pretty good together. THANK GOODNESS 😎

    • Thanks Valerie :O)

      It’s not that they are being agressive to each other… it’s competitive. They have to do everything, they don’t want the other person to 1 up them, kwim? It’s a constant race to see who is going to do it.

  2. Ouch!! Mine are 21 months apart and big brother is starting to get more rough with little sister. He doesn’t like her touching his toys or getting any attention for that matter. They used to play so well together… Thankfully only one bloody nose so far… We will see as they get older.

  3. Ouch! Poor kiddo~ hopefully they “get it” sooner rather than later.

  4. Our kids get special days.. with 6 that is easy, they each get a day a week and I get Sunday off. But with two, maybe they just take turns? Ethan on sunday, Emma on Monday, Ethan on Tuesday, Emma on Wed and so on.. print out a picture of each, and it goes on the fridge or somewhere equally visible (the inside of the front door!) and on their special day, put the picture they so they know whose day it is. On their special day THEY get to help mommy make dinner, go on errands with daddy, (or mommy if daddy is home to stay with the rest) check the mail, answer the door, and so on. It’s helped a lot at our house. If they ask to do something I simply say it’s not your day. :o)

    • also..even if it’s not aggressive.. if one child hurts another I make them apologize. If a child is running to answer the door, etc. and knocked another one over, and he/she gets hurt, they still must apologize. It’s just polite. :o)

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