Question and Answer

Why do my kids have to fight all the time? I have three of them, and they drive me crazy. Why can't they be nice to each other?

Good question! All I can tell you is that sibling rivalry has been going on for a long time. It was responsible for the first murder on record (when Cain killed Abel) and has been represented in virtually every two-child family from that time to this. The underlying source of this conflict is old-fashioned jealousy and competition between children. Marguerite and Willard Beecher, writing in their book Parents on the Run, expressed the inevitability of this struggle as follows:

It was once believed that if parents would explain to a child that he was having a little brother or sister, he would not resent it. He was told that his parents had enjoyed him so much that they wanted to increase their happiness. This was supposed to avoid jealous competition and rivalry. It did not work. Why should it? Needless to say, if a man tells his wife he has loved her so much that he now plans to bring another wife into the home to "increase his happiness," she would not be immune to jealousy. On the contrary, the fight would just begin in exactly the same fashion as it does with children. 1

1 Willard and Marguerite Beecher, Parents on the Run: A Commonsense Book for Today's Parents (New York: Crown Publishers, 1955), 128.

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