Carl, Jess, and Sophie seem to be always at each other about something – who took whose toy, who wouldn’t let them play the game, and car trips are the worse – whose legs crossed over the other’s “line” and touched whose arm. And you think the workplace is any different? Think again. If you watch any sitcom on TV about work, it’s easy to see how it is a typical dysfunction family: The drill-sergeant boss, the clueless second in command, the favorite son, the acting out little sister. Sibling rivalry flares up – who is left out, who is the scapegoat, who is always complaining about…everything.
While some sibling rivalry is to be expected, it can all too easily go way out of bounds: Physical fighting in the home; ongoing tension, gossiping, and poor morale among staff. When such rivalry gets into these ranges, it’s a good sign that there are other problems afoot.
Here are some of the common causes of intense sibling rivalry both in the family and on the job:
1) Lack of Structure
Everyone benefits from a certain amount of structure. Structure here means clear rules, routines, expectations, consequences.
In the home
When there is a lack of or not enough structure in the home, children don’t feel safe, they feel anxious. They don’t know what to expect, don’t have that steady routine to ground them. The anxiety can fuel irritability and sibling rivalry; in the absence of clear structure, they may constantly be pushing and testing in order to find out where the boundaries are. Once the boundaries get set, they settle, a clear sign that this was the problem.