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  • tug of warIn The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, that book and movie series that is hugely popular with the kids these days, normal middle-school student Greg Heffley often complains in his journal about his older brother Rodrick, who’s always picking on him, and his 3-year-old younger bro Manny, who’s always telling on him with their mom. Both, he feels, get away with almost anything while he is always the one getting into trouble with their parents. Manny, he often ignores, but Rodrick annoys him to the point that they once even got into a big fight in the middle of a church service. Local movies and teleseryes also play up on sibling rivalry themes, where brothers and/or sisters start fighting as kids, and then grow up to have resentments that often lead to fistfights, kidnappings, bloody gang wars, car explosions, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

    Family Feud
    Those scenes may be exaggerated cases of sibling rivalry, but as any mom with more than one child knows, fighting among sibs even over the most trivial things is a reality. According to Teacher Krissie Zamora-Martinez, research and curriculum development directress of the Montessori de Manila in Las Pinas, it is normal for siblings from childhood to young adolescence to quibble with their sibs. “It can manifest as soon as another child is born in the family and as soon as one feels left out or neglected for some reason.”

    The possible root reasons, she says, “can be because of the birth of another sibling, when the focus and energy of the parents shift from the older child to the younger one.  It can also be due to favoritism, or when a child perceives the parents to be taking another sibling's side.”

    To illustrate how common the condition is, she cites her own up-close experience with the rivalry:  “My sister's three school-aged boys, who are aged two.five, six, and eight, have regular bouts of sibling rivalry for the root causes I stated above.  The youngest one doesn’t want to share his belongings, the middle child who just started his Grade 1 class is at the threshold between being a preschooler and a grade-schooler, so he vacillates between being jealous of the youngest one's toys and being afforded more "big boy" responsibilities like his kuya.  The eldest sometimes dislikes having to look after his brothers' things since he feels he has "better" things to do with his time and independence.”



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