Sibling rivalry 2.0

What is sibling rivalry like in an internet age?

Arguing Children


Friday began badly. Only son and daughter three were on a stand-off. Only son was running a bit behind because he had created a birthday card for his best friend, but the message inside was slightly unbirthday-like. Only son takes it upon himself to act like his best friend’s parent. It started: “Dear x, Although we have not been hanging out so much these days and I can’t come to your birthday party [it’s a paintballing extravaganza and only son is taking a conscientious objector stance to all war-like activity], regardless, you are my friend…” So far so good.

Only son then pointed out that his friend may not totally understand his card and should ask his mum to explain it to him if he didn’t. “Sincerely, x” he signed off. Hmm. I think this all stems from his sisters who tell only son what to do all the time, eg, not to eat sugar, etc. Only son feels it is his duty to tell anyone younger than him how to improve their lives. His friend is five weeks younger than him.

I explained to only son that it might be best just to stick to ‘happy birthday’ in traditional form so he re-did the inside of the card. Daughter three loomed. “We are going to be late,” she said and pushed only son who was already feeling a little emotional about the whole card thing. Things escalated. “I hope you have a very bad day,” he called out to daughter three as she entered school.

Only son has an elephantine memory so, at the end of the day, he asked if daughter three had indeed had a very bad day. Daughter three turned up the BTS in the car. “Not BTS AGAIN,” shouted only son in despair. He has written on daughter two’s bedroom door: “BTS – it’s not really an army and they are bad singers”. BTS followers are called army. Only son, as stated, is against violence [except when it involves sisters] and in any event he cannot see how fans can possibly be considered an army.

He went to his bedroom and was very quiet for the next hour. I went upstairs. “I have created a website,” he said. It turns out he had indeed created a blog. It was called “x’s life: good but mainly bad”. “Mainly bad?” I queried. “In what way?” “Daughter three,” he replied solemnly. He has got a hand-me-down mobile phone and, being very technically minded, has already entered all the family’s phone numbers, although he has no credit. Top of the list is Childline – “just in case”.

Daughter three actually contacted Childline when she was his age to report her sister, fellow BTS fan-in-chief and current bosom buddy, daughter two. She was also found on Youtube searching for “I hate my sister”, trying to find some useful five-point guide to what to do.

Only son would probably just ask Siri.

In the age of the internet, all things are solvable by the internet, it seems. Even sibling rivalry.

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