• Sisterhood: The bond, differences, conflict and comparison

    sisterhood bond differences conflict comparison

    Seeing differences in your children is only natural. Having a girl and a boy; it is inevitable that there would be differences due to their gender. However sibling comparisons often occur when you have children of the same gender and it often happen between sisters.

    My mother loved to dress my sister and I the same when we were younger.  This despite the fact that she is 7 years older than me.

    I don’t know what my mother was thinking as we were far from twins. On the contrary there was nothing that validated we were a matching pair. As a child, I hated this.  I think my mom only stopped this craze when my sister started high school.

    With the big age gab, there was really no competition or comparison between my sister and I. I knew she was much older and to be in competition with her on various levels was silly.

    Despite this, people still made a comparison between us.

    Absurd – I know.

    Besides sharing the same DNA, we were so different. We didn’t share the same interests. Different in everything we did, our personalities, abilities and looks.

    But with the differences we knew that we were bound as sisters for the long-term. Regardless of our differences we shared the same values and upbringing.

    People perceived me as the baby and entertainer of the family. Whenever we had visitors my mom would show me off and I had to sing.

    Another thing I hated.

    As the eldest, my sister had sole attention of my parents for 7 years. She was obviously the pacesetter for things that I still had to achieve. I was always measured by the same stick as my sister when it came to academic progress at school. Ridiculous to say the least taking into consideration that I only started school when she almost completed primary school.  She excelled at school and was always either top of the class or second.

    My sister on the other hand was a bit rebellious in her teenage and adolescent years and defiant to my parents’ authority as they disapproved of some of her choices.  My mom would then compare her to other children who were so obedient. Although there were times I didn’t agree with her behaviour, I kind of admired her rebellious streak. Why? Because she stood up for what she believed in. As the eldest there was so much pressure to set a good example for me.

    As children, I can’t recall my sister and I ever being rivals.  But I do remember that I used to do things that annoyed her. She did not allow me to hang out with her friends.  We only started to click when I was in my matric year and she was already working.  That is when we started to communicate on a serious level.  We started hanging out together and because I was younger, she was very overprotective but yet she had my back.

    Now as adults with our own families, we are living our separate lives but we still share a special bond and my love for her is eternal. My sister and I are still so different. We have different viewpoints on certain things. There are times when we disagree but we don’t keep grudges – and rightfully so – that is how it should be.

    Did the comparisons stop – I guess not.  People will always compare – even now that we older.

    Sisterhood with my own daughters

    Today having my own daughters, the differences are noticeable. My pregnancies with both were different, they developed and reached their milestones at a different pace.

    They have different personalities, aesthetics, likes, abilities and have their own interests. They have a different sense of style and mannerisms.

    One thing I vowed was never to dress them the same, to showcase them, label them, to compare them to each other and to have a favourite.  Although I see the differences, I would never say that I wish they were more like the other one.  I accept them as unique individuals.

    The problem however came in when their grandparents started making subtle comparisons between the two. Evaluating their achievements, comparing report cards and suggesting that the one seems to be better at doing certain things.  It grated my cheese when I caught them in the act of making a comparison.

    Although I nipped it right there; these comparisons already started to spark competition between my daughters. Always wanting to outsmart one another.  Wanting recognition for being better at a task and competing for parental attention.

    Of course, my husband and I set the record straight. We constantly remind them that they are unique in their own way and should never live by comparison. My daughters have their own strengths and weaknesses.  As parents we focus on the positives and motivate them. No one is superior or more intelligent than the other.

    Yes my daughters squabble and that is normal. But as parents we do not tolerate them to be angry with each other.  We taught them how to apologise for their wrong doings and to find positive solutions to resolve their conflict.  They have a special bond and give emotional support to one another. The love they have for each other is indescribable. They communicate well with each other and as young as they are, they have each others backs.

    The impact of comparing siblings

    Comparisons are influenced by parents wanting their children to perform better or to be on the same par as other siblings. Other than parental influences, it is also brought about by birth order, personality and people outside of the family.

    These comparisons have a negative impact on children.

    • Comparisons create competition between siblings.
    • It causes sibling rivalry and envy.
    • It can be alienating where a child feels that he/she does not fit in with the family.
    • This can lead to a child becoming distant and socially withdrawn from the family.  It can create self-doubt, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
    • It can cause resentment towards other siblings.
    • Comparing siblings can stagger a child’s development.
    • It can lead to underachievement and behaviour problems.

    Sisters and siblings in general will always be different even if they are identical twins. The focus should be on the love that they have for each other and forming a strong bond. Having a sibling, whether a sister or brother is a blessing and a gift.  You instantly have a friend for life. So be like Anna and Elsa in Frozen, have each others backs, accept your differences, stop comparing and competing and just “let it go”.









    1. December 12, 2017 / 2:56 pm

      This is an amazing article! I can 100% relate to what you are saying.

      My sister and I were always competing and it really affected our relationship. It only got better when we both left school.

      If I have more children, I would want to raise them as unique individuals and not compare.

      Thank you for a wonderful article šŸ™‚

      • Noleen Miller
        December 13, 2017 / 8:10 am

        I think as we grow older we realize that there is no real reason to be in competition with your siblings. I’m glad your relationship is now on a better footing. Comparisons really does negatively impact on children and cause rivalry.Thanks for reading my post.

    2. December 13, 2017 / 9:45 pm

      Aww what a lovely post. I don’t think it’s fair to compare children to one another but I can see how easily it’s done #fortheloveofBlog

      • Noleen Miller
        December 14, 2017 / 8:59 am

        Thank you. Yes it happens so easily and even subtle comparisons can have an impact.#fortheloveofBLOG

    3. December 14, 2017 / 9:31 am

      That dressing the same thing was big in the 70’s – my mum tried to do it too but my older sister usually refused. Tho there are a few photos. I think we also compare our experiences too – sometimes I listen to siblings talk and their versions of their mother is always showing favouritism to the other sibling – so it’s interesting. #FortheloveofoBLOG

      • Noleen Miller
        December 15, 2017 / 8:31 am

        The good old 70’s – yip it was big back then. I think parents just raised their children differently back then to what we do now. I suppose in some cases they were none the wiser that they were making comparisons and how it affected the children.#FortheloveofBLOG

    4. December 14, 2017 / 7:07 pm

      I have two girls and they are very different. We have always tried to celebrate them as individuals rather than comparing them, but they’re the ones who ask to wear the same clothes! I do think it’s so cute but I’ll only do it for as long as they like it too #stayclassymama

      • Noleen Miller
        December 15, 2017 / 8:27 am

        That is so cute – its always good if it comes from them wanting to dress alike. I must say I’ve never bought my girls the same clothes – perhaps it was because I disliked it as a child. And if I did on the odd occasion it would be in a different colour. As my girls are growing older they are so comfortable with their own individuality plus the one is so much bigger than the other one and can no longer wear clothes from the younger kids section.#Stayclassymama

    5. December 15, 2017 / 4:26 am

      Great post! My sister and I are 100% different, and I’m sure she felt the comparisons more than I did. I was the eldest, the smart one, the piano player, etc. while she was not quite as academic and me, and so on. I’m trying hard not to compare my daughters, and we’re doing okay so far. It’ll be an important thing for us to focus on as the girls grow.

      • Noleen Miller
        December 15, 2017 / 8:20 am

        Seeing the differences and wanting to compare is only natural for parents but try not to do it in front of your daughters as they will pick up on this. Thanks for reading my post.#StayClassyMama

    6. December 16, 2017 / 9:54 am

      My sister was 4 years older than me, we had two older brothers also. We were compared, she was pretty and well behaved, I was cute but noisy. She the rebelled as a teen, I became the good child and the smart one. It was constant that we were compared. Even now my own mother compares how my sister and I parent differently. I did feel that I always had to measure up, I felt like they wished I was quieter like her. Overall though it didn’t affect our relationship we had the best relationship, we were always laughing. When she was 16 and I was 12 there was more divide, as she was interested in boys and music and I still loved Barbie dolls Then we eventually both became mums and we grew very close, we still giggle like little kids and adore one another. I have 2 daughters, 3 years apart. They are VERY different but also so much the same in other ways. It is hard not to compare. But they have the best bond, watching them reminds me so much of my sister and I. Currently they are ten and thirteen, they even have sleepovers in each others rooms it is very sweet. I am sure soon Aspen will be more into boyfriends etc than hanging out with her little sister, for now I will enjoy them and try hard not to compare! Great post! #stayclassymama

      • Noleen Miller
        December 17, 2017 / 8:44 pm

        Glad that this did not compromise your relationship with your sister. People will most probably always compare however it is good that you are not doing that to your own children. Thanks for reading my post.#Stayclassymama

    7. December 19, 2017 / 2:21 pm

      I really love this post and agree with it all. I have a younger sister and there was always a lot of comparison between us. Now I have my own (boy and girl) I try my best to look at them as individuals but some people in my family keep trying to compare them. Not sure why really as they are like water and wine. Thank you for sharing with #Stayclassymama

    8. December 19, 2017 / 10:39 pm

      I think it’s only natural that sisters and siblings are compared, I know that me and my sister were, and we were even compared to our brother – the younger more cleverer geek in the family. I hope that I won’t compare my children, but I think something inside would be. Thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    9. January 15, 2018 / 12:22 pm

      Very hard to avoid: our pair, girl, older, and boy, are only 17 months apart and it can be hard. Especially when she tried to compete with him on his forte, football, and he had no interest in hers ā€” drama nd movies! They do fight but then minutes later are chatting away as if nothing happened. Normal stuff, really, I think

    10. January 19, 2018 / 1:37 am

      I love that you won’t compare them, it really does hamper their individualness. And as you said, it must also have an impact on self-esteem and make them resentful of the sibling. Thanks for joining us this week on #GlobalBlogging

    11. February 5, 2018 / 10:51 am

      My sister and I are also 7yrs apart…no actually 8. And we never had this comparison thing. We were just in totally different phases of our lives. I don’t recall a day of envy or jealousy. Ya she annoyed me, but definitely that was it. Our relationship was always me taking on more of a motherly role I think. Once she was in her 20’s and then married and both now with kid/kids….we’re best friends. We talk DAILY, text DAILY…she comes to my kids sports days. We do family lunches. It’s an amazing relationship….minus when she annoys me, cause she does that plenty. lol.

      My 3 kids are definitely their own people. I have a daughter and 2 sons. The sons are chalk and cheese! My son is in gr 1 now, so I think there may be a comparison on the academics vs when his sister was in Gr 1, but I’d never compare with them knowing. Something hubby and I may chat about occasionally, but that’s it. I’d never want one child to feel less than another.

      Interesting read…. #LekkerLinky

      • Noleen Miller
        February 5, 2018 / 11:32 am

        Thanks for reading my post. So true – my sister is older than me and yes there are time when she annoys the crap out of me but the bond we have is indescribable. That is what I strive for with my own girls, they at a stage where they have arguments over trivial things – this normal but I’ve taught them to resolve issues immediately and to apologise when one of them were in the wrong. Staying neutral and not to take sides has been something that both my husband and I have set from the start. It’s normal for a parent to see the differences and to make the odd comparison but never do it with them knowing.#Lekkerlinky

      • Noleen Miller
        February 5, 2018 / 12:08 pm

        Thanks for reading.

    12. February 5, 2018 / 8:16 pm

      This is so true, my sister and I are 6 years apart and the comparisons, the same dressing… it all rings so true to me. It was extremely detrimental to our relationship when we were younger because my sister always felt she was in my shadow. We eventually have outgrown most of it. But fully understand what you are saying… It just reminds me what I shouldnt be doing with my own. They are 10 years apart. #lekkerlinky

      • Noleen Miller
        February 6, 2018 / 9:20 am

        As I experienced it, I always said I won’t do that to my kids. Hell and then other people start comparing but we’ve set the record straight. Thanks for reading my post.#Lekkerlinky

    13. February 6, 2018 / 9:02 am

      This is so true! My sister and I are only 18 months apart, but as different as night and day. Similarly my girls are 2 years apart and again, as different as night and day. SHared DNA should never be a basis for comparison of two different human beings.

      • Noleen Miller
        February 6, 2018 / 9:09 am


    14. February 7, 2018 / 12:38 pm

      This is such a great Post Noleen. My little brother and I never had to deal with this, partially because of the boy and girl thing I guess, but also because my parents have never been big on comparisons which Iā€™m so grateful for. Even when I was pregnant, I remember them saying that I should never compare my baby to others with regards to when she starts teething, or when she sits, or when she walks, because none of that matters.
      Thanks for joining us at #LekkerLinky ?

      • Noleen Miller
        February 7, 2018 / 1:06 pm

        Thanks. I think comparisons happens less when siblings are a girl and a boy. You are so right and you will often find that parents compare milestones and development to those of other babies.#Lekkerlinky

    15. February 11, 2018 / 12:04 pm

      Great read! My sister is 7 years younger than me and still my best friend. I miss her now, she lives in Scotland and in between her family responsibilities and my family responsibilities it becomes difficult to catch up regularly. But we manage and Whatapp is a great help. #Lekkerlinky

      • Noleen Miller
        February 14, 2018 / 8:52 am

        Oh long distance is the worst but at least you are still keeping in touch. Thanks for reading my post.#Lekkerlinky

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