Sibling rivalry: 1 in 2 adults still argue and compete with their brothers and sisters

LONDON — Sibling rivalries can be a common theme among children, but a new survey finds most people continue to measure themselves to their brothers and sisters well into adulthood.

The poll of 2,000 adults with at least one sibling finds 51 percent still have a competitive relationship with their brothers and sisters. Many can’t help but compete over career goals (26%) and even home ownership (22%).

Meanwhile, another 20 percent still argue over who is their parent’s “favorite” in the family. The same percentage constantly strive to outdo their sibling in the kitchen. Other areas brothers and sisters keep battling over include their vacation destinations, who drives a nicer car, and their skills as a parent.

For many adults, this is nothing new. Just under one in five (17%) report they’ve had a rivalry with their siblings at every stage of their lives. Interestingly, though, even more (43%) believe this competition heightens each year around big gift-giving holidays like birthdays and Mother’s Day.

Do big brothers and sisters have the edge?

The survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by NOW, also finds older siblings tend to be both more competitive and more successful. Notably older sisters are even more competitive than older brothers. In fact, 15 percent told researchers they’re sibling rivalry has motivated them to achieve more in their careers, with 23 percent actually achieving that goal.

Sibling rivalry never goes away, with many of us competing with our brothers or sisters long after we have left home,” Jamie Schwartz from NOW says in a statement.

On average, siblings usually argue twice a month over things such as politics or what to watch on TV. A third admit that they’ve stopped talking to a brother or sister for a period of time over a disagreement.

For what it’s worth, 25 percent of the poll believe competition is a healthy aspect of any sibling relationship. Nearly two in 10 believe their personal sibling rivalries have helped them achieve more in life.

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