1. Have an Interesting Snippet to Share : Click Here
    Dismiss Notice

The poison tree called sibling rivalry

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,275
    Likes Received:
    15,838
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Do you know who committed the first murder in the history of mankind? Cain! He murdered his sibling Abel. They, being the sons of Adam and Eve, became the first case of sibling rivalry in the world. There are several instances of calamitous sibling rivalry in mythology and history like Seth and Osiris, Jacob and Esau, Romulus and Remus etc. We see sibling rivalry even in Walt Disney’s famous cartoon, The Lion King between Scar and Mufasa. With great difficulty I refrain from quoting Mahabarath but I should draw from Ramayana the example of sibling rivalry between Vaali and Sugriva.

    Quite a few Tamil films had sibling rivalry as the theme but I would like to point out three as the best of them. First is the Gemini’s Apoorva Sahodarargal released in 1949. M.K.Radha donning the role of twins, Vijay and Vikraman had put up a sterling performance and the film was a runaway hit. The second is Uthama Puthiran starring the inimitable Sivaji Ganesan donning the role of twins, Parthiban and Vikraman. The third is not a story of twins like the other two and yet made a great impact on the audience. It is ‘Uyirile Kalandhadu’ which is centered around the feeling of great rivalry that Raguvaran as elder brother feels towards Surya, the younger brother. The film attempts a deep analysis of how certain innocuous actions of indulgence of the parents, portrayed by Sivakumar and Raadhika, towards the younger son builds up a murderous rage in the elder.

    In most of our families, there would be instances of our grandparents or great grandparents, particularly when they had multiple children, showing greater affinity towards some children and thus causing a great complex in other children. Such partiality had even caused an irreparable split among the families of the favoured and neglected children. My own maternal uncles were always at such loggerheads that if they had been adept in fencing, the sound of the clashing steel would have been heard round the clock! All this was because my grand mother had a marked bias towards the elder, being the one who had the right to perform her last rites when she expired! While the difficulty of the parents of multiple children in giving each of them an equal measure of their love and affection can be understood and appreciated, they had, by their seemingly partial attitude, fostered great enmity among the families down the line.

    Take me for example. My only sibling was my brother seven years elder to me. I believe that right from the day I was born, my mother made him feel that he had as much responsibility in bringing me up as she had. She used to consult him on every issue concerning me and made him feel important. As a result, he developed a parental concern for me which continued till his passing away! How all this combined affection of my parents and my brother spoilt me is another story! If my brother could find time for my family even after he rose to become the numero uno in the bureaucratic hierarchy and had a family of his own, the credit should go to my mum who could sow the seed of concern and responsibility in him towards my upbringing.

    In the rustic and illiterate families, one can see a marked bias towards male children. But in more affluent and educated families, the bias would be towards daughters. It is a general complaint of most of our girls that their mothers in law show great partiality towards their own daughters. While the first can be explained as possibly due to the expectation that the son would eventually be the future bread winner of the family, the role of affluence in the parents developing greater affinity for daughters is difficult to understand. Most of the cases of the mil-dil hostility are a result of the mil’s bias towards her daughter/s.

    All forms of sibling rivalry can only be traced to the prejudices of the parents. Even mild leaning towards a particular child could cause a great trauma in the less favoured child. The parents may not be indulging in such unequal treatment deliberately but even then it can cause a great complex. I have seen parents comparing their children with each other which, according to psychologists, cause greater complex in them than any other reason.

    Marianne Neifert, better known as Dr. Mom, a well known pediatrician, dynamic professional speaker, author, and mother of five grown children, sums it up nicely thus:
    Most parents aren’t even aware of how often they compare their children. . . . Comparisons carry the suggestion that specific conditions exist for parental love and acceptance. Thus, even when one child comes out on top in a comparison she is left feeling uneasy about the tenuousness of her position and the possibility of faring less well in the next comparison.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
    9 people like this.
    Loading...

  2. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

    Messages:
    1,310
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    70
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Cheeniya,
    Another gem of a topic and very well analysed post. It is sad that in many or should i say most houses , this comparison, whether intentional or unintentional does play a great role. An emotional and psychological effect is definitely seen and it does get carried on from childhood to adulthood. But i wonder if there is really a solution. The parents and grandparents should take care not to sow such seeds , true, but is it possible at all times? If one child deserves to be praised, it is the parents who have to do it, and the child also looks forward to it. Definitely the other one will feel left out......
    I feel it is a tough life for the parents only ,to guard themselves against such actions. Poor things, how much they need to do.....not be Indulgent and not let comparison come in. Well one thought , do u think it will help if we have only one child......( just trying to justify myself as to why i had only one daughter...he he!)
     
  3. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    8,454
    Likes Received:
    5,090
    Trophy Points:
    440
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Cheeniya,

    I second Sudha in that it is a gem of a topic and ofcourse, what else, very very well written:)
    I guess sibling rivalry is bound to happen in families with many children. Somehow, I can understand the parents succumbing to praise one or the other and compare one with another. It is only natural when one is dealing with so many offsprings, provided a conscience of ' freudism' has not set into the psyche of these parents!!
    Today, the family set up is generally smaller with two or three kids being the norm. Most parents to are aware of the psychological impacts on children and are careful for most part in their fair upbringing and handling of the kids.
    In spite of it, I think sibling rivalry is bound to happen...I call it the nature of 'human'! I feel the rivalry is basically the result of the mental makeup of the individual. Even after having the sweetest parents and enjoying equal treatment, one turns out to be a more competitive or a jealous sibling always vying for more importance...call it ego. Have witnessed this in many cases. Sad.

    L, Kamla
     
    2 people like this.
  4. RamyaVaradharajan

    RamyaVaradharajan Bronze IL'ite

    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    40
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear most Cheeniya sir,

    A topic which scratched my conscience for a long time, had been well analyzed and put in words in front of my eyes. Thank you very much for without which my views would have been curtained to mere self-analysis and an on-going process of self-understanding. Though not experienced personally, being the "only queen" of my home, but many a time the feeling that my friends have gone through have left me in deep thoughts.

    "Sibling Rivalry", the topic which hits the top of the list in a Google search; the topic that has left many parents handicapped; the topic that screws the siblings day in and day out; the topic that leaves no trail of peace in life; last but never the least, a topic that needs to be thoroughly analyzed and given multiple dimensions so that the so-called "Age-old problem" becomes "extinct" and "endangered" (if I can call so, since the sixth-sensed behave other wise).

    My friends range from all different categories and parental guidance and support differs from person to person. And it speaks volumes when we chit-chat about each other's siblings. As I have already mentioned, being solo in my home, I always had shown keen interest to know about my friend's siblings and keep in contact with them (so to say, to divert my solitude) . The intimate relationship that the siblings share, as far as I have found, is well pronounced when it comes to a brother-sister pair than in other cases. A brother seems to assume a second fatherly role to his sister, irrespective of age difference that they share. But the same is not felt between two brothers or sisters. Not ascertain with the fact where-in "gender" takes a lead role, but less sure that it does, in reality .

    Parents tend to show more affection towards the younger lot which induces and compounds the "complex nature" in the other sibling. This should be weeded out at an early stage, other wise the effect would be something similar to "Uyirile Kalandhu". Yes sir, I have pondered upon "Raghuvaran's character" in that movie, and had always put myself in soup. What happens when parents are not aware of what they are doing or expressing ?? Parents cannot take a back seat consoling themselves or with a pat on their back telling that their kids do not suffer from complexities between each other. But what is the measure that has to be taken ?? How can parents know about the existence of complexion ?? The phenomenon looks simple but not very trivial are its implications. " Complexion is a tool with power and its reaction is hard-to-digest when felt " . Is there a way to dissolve this "complexion" completely ?? Can its effects be masked with proper care ?? Can this be weeded out before it multiplies its branches ??

    The answer to all the tags above lies within the clutches of the parents of such siblings. Their clutch should bridge the gap between their wards and make them a twin-pair with 0.00% emotional longevity between them.

    Regards
    RamyaVaradharajan

     
  5. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,275
    Likes Received:
    15,838
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Sudha
    Single baby creates too much indulgence in the parents. If there are two, comparisons wreck sibling relationship. If it is one too many, favouritism alienates the less favoured children. Parents cant just run away from the perils of bringing up their children in a reasonably good way!

    Almost all psychologists insist that comparison is the worst culprit in forging sibling rivalry but ironically most of the parents indulge in it freely without being aware of the disastrous consequences. The only way to avoid any undesirable effect on children, all the parental actions must appear unbiased and impartial.

    Even at 65 , I hate being compared with another 65 in matters like physical stature, balding head and things like that. I can certainly understand what trauma it can create in younger people!
    Sri
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    23,656
    Likes Received:
    27,187
    Trophy Points:
    590
    Gender:
    Female
    Dear Sri,

    It is a great topic on a great subject. You have taken great examples....was wondering why you were trying too much to avoid mahabaratha where you get classic examples....

    Even the classic fairy tale of Cindrella talks about sibling rivalry..(ofcourse we may give the excuse of step sisters...)

    I wonder why sibling and rivalry are always coined to gether, more so than when there are good relationships between siblings.

    There are certain things you cannot chose in life. Sibling is one of them. Though parents are practical, tend not to be partial, sometimes it becomes difficult.

    Sometimes different personalities, differing needs, place in the family all play a part....and the parents deft handling may erase it...

    Sibling rivalry is more seen in cases where there one is handicapped. or when one is gifted than the other.

    There was one more movie by parthipan where the small boy kills his baby brother...
    (I have seen only a clippings...)

    Parenting is like walking on a tight rope....will be back later....
     
  7. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,275
    Likes Received:
    15,838
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Kamla
    I agree with you on the inevitability of sibling rivalry but it is the parental duty to ensure that this rivalry does not grow into animosity. Every force on earth can be benign or malign depending upon how it is harnessed. Sibling rivalry is no different. If parents find it difficult to cope with, they should seek the help of experts rather than winking it away saying it is all part of the growing process. But it is unfortunate that many do not understand the gravity of the problem and simply let the issues be dealt with by the children themselves.

    Times are changing. Bringing up children in the kind of set up in which our grandparents grew was possibly simple because of the high respect and fear that the head of the family invoked in others. But today the child-parent equation is more on a peer level. You cant just tell a child to do something without explaining the rationale behind your advice. This naturally calls for special skill.

    Sri
     
  8. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,275
    Likes Received:
    15,838
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Ramya
    For a single child who might not know the trauma of sibling rivalry, I should say that you have come out with a very nice analysis. The problem with sibling rivalry is that it is like cancer. It is never diagnosed until it reaches fatal proportions. At its earliest stage , it is possibly curable but when it is allowed to grow, it affects the entire family. It's what happent in that Raguvaran movie.

    Unfortunately, it is the parent, more often the mother, that sows the seed of sibling rivalry in the children through her inadvertant actions and words. I say mother because she spends more time with the children, she has to face the tantrums thrown by them and she is the one to handle explosive situations. Being unable to cope with the problem, she utters words more out of her own irritation and takes actions which she might not in an easier frame of mind. By the time the father returns, all is quiet at home and if the husband and wife are not very communicative, he may even be in the dark about what is happening.

    Bringing up children is a joint exercise between the husband and wife. I wonder how many of the young parents discuss such matters pragmatically. In quite a few cases, the children bring up their parents!

    Sri
     
    2 people like this.
  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    12,275
    Likes Received:
    15,838
    Trophy Points:
    538
    Gender:
    Male
    Dear Shanthi
    I did avoid any example from Mahabharat because the sibling rivalry there has assumed the proportion of good and evil, Dharma and Adharma. It is not as if the Pandavas are absolutely blameless. They do have a role in fanning up the feeling of rivalry in the Kauravas. If I tell you that Lord Krishna took the side of the lesser evil, many would tear me to pieces!

    You have made a great point in saying " Sibling rivalry is more seen in cases where there one is handicapped. or when one is gifted than the other." If the child is handicapped, the chances are that the parents may be a bit indulgent towards it and the other healthy child may not feel any rivalry because the child knows the reason for the extra attention the parents pay towards the handicapped child. A fine example can be seen in Mani Rathnam movie, Anjali

    But gifted children can by themselves cause a feeling of jealousy in the other children. And when parents dote on such gifted children, the rivalry combined with jealousy can reach disastrous levels.

    Sri
     
  10. Mahajanpragati

    Mahajanpragati Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    2,036
    Likes Received:
    1,330
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Gender:
    Female
    dear sir,
    i agree with u that a mother is more responsible in sowing the seeds of silbling rivalary.it usually starts from the womb itself.when the mother is pregnant with her 2nd baby people will always ask whether the symptoms are same like the first one or different.i guess the quries are made to guess the gender of coming baby.the mother too starts comparing,the previous pregnancy was more easy or difficult depending on situation,this baby is less active ...... .if the elder child is old enough he will feel either happy or guilty depending on mother's words.

    then as the baby is born the comparision goes on.this one is late sitter,this one has started talking early then the previous one...so on .as time passes mind gets conditioned & unconsciously one keeps comparing the two siblings which often leads to sibling rivalary.

    well,human nature is such that we compare one with another.but i feel we should avoid verbalising it .as far as i can see this seems the best solution.
    regards
    pragati
     

Share This Page