20 Undisputable Negative Effects of Sibling Rivalry

Updated: Jun 2, 2023
By Michelle Abari
negative effects of sibling rivalry
20 Thoughtful Gifts for Meeting In-laws for the First Time

20 Thoughtful Gifts for Meeting In-laws for the First Time

Meeting your in-laws for the first time can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It's a significant milestone in any relationship, as it signifies the merging of two families and the potential for deeper connections.  One way to make a lasting impression and...

20 Cool Last-Minute Gifts for In-laws

20 Cool Last-Minute Gifts for In-laws

When it comes to gift-giving, finding the perfect present for your in-laws can sometimes be a challenging task. Whether it's for a special occasion or simply to show appreciation, selecting a thoughtful gift that resonates with their interests and tastes is...

15 Common Teenage Problems with Parents

15 Common Teenage Problems with Parents

Teenhood is a complicated stage in human growth mixed with physical, emotional, and individual changes. These changes can be rapid, slow, confusing, and overwhelming for different teens. Thus, teenage problems with parents are bound to happen because teenagers want to...

15 Fun Family Games to Play at Home for Bonding

15 Fun Family Games to Play at Home for Bonding

One of my favorite times in the world is the time I spend with my family. Times when everyone is home, Eating, laughing, playing, and having a good time. Times where the storytelling never ends, especially from my end. We share stories of the past, and present, we...


Everyone knows that rivalry is very bad, but when it comes down to siblings, it leaves a negative effect on the siblings.

Negative effects of sibling rivalry is what we see everyday. People with low self-esteem, in constant argument, in constant doubt with themselves. The effects are endless, and this article will tell you a lot about it. 

Now, let us take a journey on the negative effects of sibling rivalry.

20 Negative Effects of Sibling Rivalry

1. Emotional Impact

The emotional impact of sibling rivalry can be significant and have long-lasting effects on individuals involved. Here are some key aspects of the emotional impact:

  • Low Self-esteem

A negative effect of Sibling rivalry often involves constant comparison between siblings, leading to feelings of inadequacy and a diminished sense of self-worth. When children are constantly compared to their siblings and feel they fall short, their self-esteem can suffer. They may develop a negative self-image and struggle with feelings of not being good enough or valued by their parents.

  • Jealousy and Resentment

Siblings competing for parental attention and affection can breed jealousy and resentment. When parents appear to favor one child over another, it can create intense feelings of envy and bitterness. Siblings may harbor resentment towards each other, leading to a strained relationship and a sense of injustice.

  • Increased Stress and Anxiety

Sibling rivalry creates a tense and conflict-ridden atmosphere within the family. The constant competition, arguments, and pressure to outdo each other can generate high levels of stress and anxiety. Children may experience anxiety related to their performance, fear of failure, or the anticipation of conflicts with their siblings.

  • Emotional Instability

Sibling rivalry can contribute to emotional instability within individuals. The fluctuating dynamics of rivalry, ranging from intense competition to temporary alliances, can create emotional roller coasters. Individuals may experience anger, frustration, sadness, or confusion as they navigate the ups and downs of sibling relationships.

  • Identity Formation Challenges

Sibling rivalry can impact the development of individual identities. Children may struggle to establish a sense of self separate from their siblings, as they constantly compare themselves and define themselves in relation to their brothers or sisters. This can hinder personal growth and autonomy, making it difficult for individuals to explore their own interests and establish their unique identities.

It is important to recognize and address the emotional impact of sibling rivalry. Parents and caregivers should foster a supportive and nurturing environment where each child feels valued and loved for their individual qualities. Open communication, empathy, and opportunities for individual growth can help mitigate the negative emotional effects and promote healthier sibling relationships.

2. Relationship Strain

Another negative effect of Sibling rivalry can be putting a significant strain on relationships within the family. Here are some descriptions of the relationship strain caused by sibling rivalry:

  • Communication Difficulties

Sibling rivalry can lead to breakdowns in communication between siblings. The constant competition and underlying tension can make it challenging for siblings to express their thoughts, feelings, and needs openly and honestly. Trust and openness may be compromised, leading to misunderstandings and unresolved conflicts.

  • Long-lasting Resentment

Sibling rivalry often gives rise to deep-seated resentment between siblings. Unresolved issues, perceived favoritism, and past conflicts can create grudges that linger over time. This resentment can negatively impact the sibling relationship, making it difficult to build trust and maintain a healthy connection.

  • Family Division

Sibling rivalry can lead to the formation of alliances or factions within the family. Siblings may align themselves with one parent or take sides against each other, further exacerbating conflicts and dividing the family unit. This division can create a toxic and unhealthy family dynamic, making it challenging to foster a sense of unity and cooperation.

  • Difficulty Resolving Conflicts Peacefully

Sibling rivalry often involves frequent arguments and disputes. Siblings may struggle to resolve conflicts in a calm and constructive manner, resorting to aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviors instead. This pattern of conflict can strain relationships, create a hostile atmosphere, and hinder the development of effective conflict resolution skills.

  • Impact on Future Interactions

The strain caused by sibling rivalry can extend beyond childhood and have an enduring impact on the relationships between siblings. Lingering resentment, unresolved conflicts, and a history of competition can make it difficult for siblings to establish healthy and supportive connections as adults. This can lead to strained family gatherings, limited emotional intimacy, and a lack of mutual support.

Addressing the relationship strain caused by sibling rivalry requires open and honest communication, willingness to listen and understand each other’s perspectives, and a commitment to resolving conflicts in a constructive manner. Seeking family therapy or mediation can be beneficial in facilitating healthier communication patterns and rebuilding damaged relationships.

3. Academic and Achievement Impact

Sibling rivalry can have a detrimental impact on academic performance and personal achievements. Here are descriptions of the academic and achievement-related negative effects of sibling rivalry:

  • Decreased Motivation

Constant comparison and competition with siblings can result in decreased motivation. When individuals feel overshadowed by their siblings’ accomplishments or consistently fall short in comparison, they may experience a loss of enthusiasm and drive to excel academically.

The pressure to measure up to their siblings’ achievements can diminish their intrinsic motivation and hinder their ability to set and pursue personal goals.

  • Impaired Academic Performance

The emotional and psychological stress caused by sibling rivalry can interfere with concentration, focus, and overall academic performance. Children may find it difficult to concentrate on their studies due to ongoing conflicts or feelings of self-doubt.

The distractions and negative emotions associated with sibling rivalry can lead to a decline in grades, missed opportunities for learning, and a reduced ability to reach their full academic potential.

  • Limiting Personal Growth

Sibling rivalry can stifle personal growth and hinder the exploration of individual interests and passions. Children may hesitate to pursue activities or subjects they genuinely enjoy if they perceive that their siblings excel in those areas.

The fear of being overshadowed or compared unfavorably can prevent individuals from taking risks, trying new things, and developing their unique talents and skills.

  • Undermining Healthy Competition

While healthy competition can be motivating and beneficial, sibling rivalry often involves unhealthy and destructive forms of competition.

Instead of inspiring each other to improve, siblings may engage in harmful behaviors such as sabotaging one another’s efforts, undermining achievements, or engaging in constant one-upmanship.

This toxic competition can undermine the potential benefits of healthy competition and impede individual growth and development.

  • Added Stress and Pressure

Sibling rivalry adds an extra layer of stress and pressure to academic pursuits. Individuals may feel an intense need to outperform their siblings or meet high expectations set by parents. 

This heightened pressure can lead to anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, and an increased fear of failure. The focus on outshining one another can create an unhealthy environment where academic success becomes a source of stress rather than a fulfilling personal achievement.

To mitigate the academic and achievement-related negative effects of sibling rivalry, it is essential for parents and caregivers to foster a supportive and nurturing environment. 

Encouraging each child’s individual interests, setting realistic expectations, and celebrating personal achievements can help alleviate the negative impact of rivalry and promote a healthier approach to academic pursuits. 

Additionally, providing equal opportunities for each child to excel and emphasizing the value of personal growth and self-improvement can help redirect the focus from unhealthy competition to individual progress.

4. Long-term Consequences

Again, a negative effect of sibling rivalry can have long-term consequences that extend beyond childhood and adolescence. Here are descriptions of the long-term effects of sibling rivalry:

  • Lingering Effects into Adulthood

Sibling rivalry can leave lasting emotional scars that continue to affect individuals well into adulthood. Resentment, unresolved conflicts, and strained relationships with siblings can persist, making it difficult to establish healthy and supportive connections. These unresolved issues can impact family dynamics and hinder the development of strong sibling bonds in adulthood.

  • Difficulty Forming Healthy Relationships

The negative effects of sibling rivalry can extend beyond sibling relationships and impact individuals’ ability to form healthy relationships with others. The constant comparison, competition, and jealousy experienced in childhood can make it challenging to trust and fully engage in intimate relationships. Individuals may struggle with feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and difficulty in sharing and cooperating with others.

  • Impact on Mental Health

Sibling rivalry can contribute to various mental health challenges. The persistent feelings of inferiority, resentment, and ongoing conflicts can increase the risk of developing conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, and low self-esteem. The emotional toll of sibling rivalry may require therapy or counseling to address and manage the resulting mental health issues.

  • Family Dynamics

The negative effects of sibling rivalry can influence future family relationships. Individuals who have experienced intense rivalry with their siblings may inadvertently replicate these unhealthy patterns when they become parents. They may struggle to create a nurturing and harmonious family environment, unintentionally perpetuating a cycle of sibling rivalry across generations.

  • Limiting Personal Growth and Potential

Sibling rivalry can restrict personal growth and limit individuals’ ability to reach their full potential. The focus on competition and comparison can divert attention from personal development and exploration of individual interests and talents. The fear of failure and constant need to outperform siblings can prevent individuals from taking risks, pursuing their passions, and fully embracing their unique abilities.

It is crucial to acknowledge and address the long-term consequences of sibling rivalry. Engaging in open and honest communication, seeking therapy or counseling if needed, and actively working towards resolving conflicts can help mitigate these effects.

Building empathy, understanding, and supporting each other’s individual journeys can foster healthier sibling relationships and break the cycle of rivalry, leading to more positive and fulfilling long-term outcomes.


Sibling rivalry can have unfortunate negative effects that impact individuals in various aspects of their lives. Emotionally, it can lead to low self-esteem, jealousy, resentment, increased stress, and anxiety. 

The strain on relationships can result in communication difficulties, long-lasting resentment, and family division. Academically, sibling rivalry can cause decreased motivation, impaired performance, and hindered personal growth. 

These effects can have long-term consequences, including lingering effects into adulthood, difficulty forming healthy relationships, impact on mental health, and perpetuation of unhealthy family dynamics.

Recognizing and addressing the negative effects of sibling rivalry is crucial for fostering healthy sibling relationships and promoting individual well-being. Open communication, empathy, and support can help alleviate emotional distress and promote a positive sense of self. 

Resolving conflicts peacefully, nurturing healthy competition, and providing equal opportunities for individual growth can mitigate academic and achievement-related setbacks. Taking steps to break the cycle of rivalry can contribute to healthier family dynamics, stronger sibling bonds, and positive long-term outcomes.

By acknowledging the unfortunate negative effects of sibling rivalry and actively working towards fostering a supportive and nurturing environment, we can create opportunities for personal growth, emotional well-being, and harmonious sibling relationships that contribute to a happier and healthier family life.


How does sibling rivalry affect adulthood?

Sibling rivalry can have lasting effects on adulthood. Lingering unresolved conflicts, resentment, and strained relationships from childhood can persist into adulthood. Siblings who have experienced intense rivalry may struggle to form healthy and supportive relationships with their siblings, impacting their overall family dynamics. 

Additionally, the emotional scars and unresolved issues from sibling rivalry can affect individuals’ ability to form healthy relationships with others outside of the family as well. It can lead to difficulties in trust, intimacy, and cooperation, which can impact overall well-being and social interactions in adulthood.

What are the consequences of siblings fighting?

Siblings fighting can have several negative consequences. It can lead to increased tension and conflict within the family, creating an unhealthy and hostile atmosphere. Continuous fighting can also damage the sibling relationship, resulting in strained or even severed connections. 

Siblings may develop resentment and harbor grudges against each other, which can lead to long-term emotional scars. Additionally, frequent fighting can hinder effective communication and conflict resolution skills, impacting individuals’ ability to handle conflicts in other relationships outside of the sibling dynamic.

What are the effects of sibling jealousy?

Sibling jealousy can have a profound impact on individuals. It often stems from competing for parental attention, affection, or resources. The effects of sibling jealousy can include feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, and a sense of being overlooked or less valued. 

Jealousy can breed resentment and bitterness between siblings, leading to strained relationships. It can also create a constant need for comparison and competition, inhibiting personal growth and preventing individuals from developing their own sense of identity and pursuing their own interests.

How can sibling rivalry affect social development?

Sibling rivalry can significantly influence social development. Constant competition and conflict with siblings can impact individuals’ social skills and interactions. Sibling rivalry may result in decreased empathy, as individuals may struggle to understand or connect with others due to the intense focus on their own needs and rivalry. 

It can also hinder the development of cooperative and teamwork skills, as siblings may view others as competitors rather than collaborators. Moreover, if sibling rivalry is characterized by aggressive or negative behaviors, individuals may carry those patterns into their social interactions outside the family, impacting their ability to form healthy relationships with peers.

Is sibling rivalry a social issue?

Sibling rivalry can be considered a social issue to some extent. While it is a common occurrence within families, its negative consequences can extend beyond the immediate family unit. The impact of sibling rivalry on individuals’ emotional well-being, relationships, and social interactions can have broader societal implications. 

Unresolved sibling conflicts and strained relationships can affect individuals’ mental health, their ability to form healthy relationships with others, and even their parenting styles. Addressing and managing sibling rivalry in a constructive and supportive manner can contribute to healthier family dynamics and promote positive social development among individuals.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Whats new?

20 Fun Things to Do at Home with Your Child in the Holidays

20 Fun Things to Do at Home with Your Child in the Holidays

Holidays offer you the opportunity to build incredible memories by spending quality time with your child. However, during the holidays, hours might seem to move slowly, if you're bored and have got no fun things to do at home with your child.  But, don't get...

20 Effective Ways of Planning a Family Vacation Checklist

20 Effective Ways of Planning a Family Vacation Checklist

The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and all the memories we’ve made along the way.” – Unknown The memories built with family on a vacation are priceless. But, getting started can be overwhelming. Vacation with family involves a lot,...

12 Ultimate Secret of How to Handle Family Problems

12 Ultimate Secret of How to Handle Family Problems

You wish for a family of unending peace, unity, happiness, and understanding, I too wish for that. But, living in a family is not a fairy tale as problems are bound to happen.  So, while your wish for a "happily ever after" family can't be granted, you can have a...

25 Guaranteed No Stress Ways to Deal with Difficult Family Members

25 Guaranteed No Stress Ways to Deal with Difficult Family Members

Family can be a source of strength and a source of stress at the same time. However, you could always draw strength from your family by applying ways to deal with difficult family members whenever family members' attitudes seem to cause conflicts in the home. ...

Explore more

You May Also Like…

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.