Rivalry or Bullying?

Your first best friend is your brother or sister, but as you grow older, you can develop rivalry or competition. Whether it’s who gets better grades, who’s better looking, or who’s stronger. Unfortunately many young people confuse rivalry with bullying.


Often, child bullies are victims themselves. A bully is someone who uses their power to intimidate others, typically to get what they want from that person. Sibling rivalry is very common, especially when parents put their children in situations where they have to compete. For example, parents might think that by comparing their children’s strengths, that’s going to motivate them to do better. Instead it creates fear, intimidation, and unnecessary rivalry.

Sibling rivalry can come in various forms:

Insults: giving siblings demeaning nicknames