Brothers and Sisters Who Fight


Joshua Leo and Liz Waid look at sibling rivalries - fighting and competition between brothers and sisters. They look at some stories from history, and some ways to resolve these conflicts.

Transcript


Voice 1

Thank you for joining us for today’s Spotlight program. I’m Joshua Leo.

Voice 2

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

Today’s Spotlight is on sibling rivalries.

Voice 2

How do you get along with your siblings - your brothers and sisters? Do you get along well? Or do you fight often? Sibling fights, or sibling rivalries, are common. And there are even many ancient stories of sibling rivalries. One famous story of rivalry was between two Egyptian gods. They were the brothers Set and Osiris. There are many versions of this story. But they all agree it was a very strong conflict.

Voice 1

Osiris was the king of Egypt. And all the people loved him. But Set hated his brother, Osiris. He wanted to be the king of Egypt, so he plotted to kill Osiris.

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Set planned a big party. For the event, he built a big beautiful box. It was made of the best wood and decorated with paint and gold. The box was the perfect size for Osiris to fit inside. Set told people at the party about a special game he had planned. He said he would give the beautiful box to anyone who could fit inside it. A few people tried, but no one could fit into Set’s box.

Voice 1

Finally, Osiris tried to fit into the box. And he fit perfectly! But as soon as Osiris was inside, Set slammed the box closed. He sealed the box with hot metal so that it would not open. And he threw the box, with Osiris in it, into the Nile River where Osiris died.

Voice 2

Not every story of sibling rivalry is so tragic and violent. But everyone with siblings experiences conflict at some time. Ancient literature is filled with stories like these.

Voice 1

The Christian Bible tells many stories of fighting siblings. The first of these is the story of Cain and Abel. Both brothers made sacrifices to God. But God was more pleased with Abel’s offering than with Cain’s. In anger, Cain killed his brother Abel.

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The Bible also tells the story of Joseph and his ten older brothers. Joseph was his father’s favorite son. His brothers envied Joseph. They were especially jealous because he received beautiful gifts from their father. Because of their jealousy, they threw Joseph in a hole in the ground and sold him to slave traders. But this story has a happier ending. After many years, Joseph united with his family again. And he was able to forgive his brothers, with God’s help.

Voice 1

Brothers and sisters around the world continue to live stories like these. If you have siblings, you have probably experienced a sibling rivalry yourself! These rivalries are normal. In fact, some experts even say they are necessary. But sometimes they can go too far. Sibling rivalries can destroy families. They can last into adulthood. But the relationship can improve.

Voice 2

There are many causes of sibling rivalry. And some forms of sibling rivalry are very simple. Young children may fight over simple things like play toys. They may fight for the attention, or interest, of their parents. When one child gets more time and attention, the other child may “act out” by fighting with his siblings. It is often difficult for parents to deal with this behavior. But Doctor Anthony Kane believes that sibling rivalries can be a valuable teaching tool. They teach children how to deal with conflicts. He says:

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“Life is full of conflict. As adults we have developed skills to end these conflicts in an effective and calm way. How did we develop these skills? We learned this by hitting our little brother. We learned this by fighting our big sister. You can only learn conflict resolution when there is conflict. Sibling rivalry provides a safe place for children to learn to solve their conflict with others.”

Voice 1

But parents have an important responsibility too. Children cannot just be left alone to solve their conflicts. They need their parents to gently guide them. When children fight over a toy, parents can encourage the children to find a way to share. This takes practice for the children - trying it again and again until they can end conflicts themselves. And it takes patience and work from parents. But in the end, it is worth the time taken.

Voice 2

However, sibling rivalry does not always end when children grow up. Older siblings may compare themselves to each other. As adults, they may compare jobs, houses, children, or many other things. It seems as if they are always trying to be better than the other. This can be a reason for sibling rivalry.

Voice 1

Sibling rivalry can also happen when things change. Younger siblings may feel angry or sad when an older sibling moves away or gets married. They may feel as if their older sibling is leaving them forever.

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But even when sibling rivalries form or continue in adulthood, there are ways to stop them. Siblings can sometimes become friends again. Doctor Kirsten Harrell is a psychologist. She studies human behaviour and thinking. She believes that good sibling relations can be very satisfying. However, this often takes a lot of work. She suggests using this method.

Voice 1

First, understand that you have to make the first move. If you want a better relationship with your sibling you cannot just wait for it to happen.

Voice 2

Second, work to get rid of any anger or other bad feelings you may have toward your sibling. This can be the most difficult part! Look for positive things to say about your sibling. Doctor Harrell even suggests that you could make a list of these things you like about your sibling. As you work to get rid of bad feelings you may have, tell your sibling what you are doing. Tell him or her that you are trying to build a better relationship with them. This may encourage them to make a better relationship too.

Voice 1

Third, look for chances to say nice things to your siblings. Everyone likes to hear compliments and good things about themselves. But it is important that you mean these compliments truthfully. Communication is an important part of any relationship. It is important to talk to your siblings. But it is also important to listen.

Voice 2

Finally, it is important to remember that fixing a relationship takes time. People’s opinions do not always change quickly. It may be difficult at first to see a difference in the relationship with your sibling. But with hard work and some luck, you will not have a sibling rivalry that ends up like that of Set and Osiris!

Voice 1

The writer and producer of this program was Liz Waid. The voices were from the United States. All quotes have been adapted for this program. Computer users can hear our programs, read our scripts, and see our word list on our website at http://www.Radio.English.net. This program is called “Brothers and Sisters Who Fight.”

Voice 2

Have you experienced a sibling rivalry in your family? Have you made peace with your siblings? Tell us your story at radio @ english . net. Goodbye!

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