Teen angst and sibling strife
Sibling rivalry can take a nasty, personal twist when kids reach their teens. While younger siblings mostly squabble over material possessions, teens compete with each other on popularity, appearance and dates. Teenage rivalry is often characterized by criticism, ridicule, tattling and verbal disapproval.
"The teenage years are a time when comparisons are heightened; teens don't feel that they measure up to their peers and they don't want competition down the hall, too," says George Ghitan, the executive director of Hull Child and Family Services in Calgary.
Teenage sibling rivalry is normal, he says. Mom and Dad need to beware the temptation to be mediators and problem solvers.
"Being the referee absolves the kids of responsibility," says Ghitan. "Parents should look at these situations as moments in which they can try to instill sharing, empathy and compromise in their teens and teach appropriate conflict-resolution skills."
Parents also need to set rules about showing respect for family members.