Siblings often don’t get along. It’s so common there are a multitude of books, programs and studies about sibling dynamics.
Sometimes, there are clear reasons for the animosity.
But sometimes, no one—even the siblings—can explain why they clash.
How parents respond to sibling rivalry can have a major impact. One parent trying to navigate these turbulent waters turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for agreeing with my daughter that she doesn’t have to invite her sister to her birthday party since she is jealous?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“My two girls do not get along—it has to deal with some jealousy issues my oldest daughter has towards her younger sister. This has been an issue since they have been in the same middle school.”
“My oldest is in 8th grade, and my youngest is in 6th grade.”
“The issue started when my youngest started doing better in school. She would come home with straight As.”
“My oldest is good academically also, but she is usually a B student, and getting an A is a big deal for her. That came to a head when my oldest started telling the youngest she didn’t deserve her grades.”
“We put her in counseling after that.”
“Overall the relationship has not been getting better. The main issue at the moment is my oldest calling her sister shallow for the things she likes and keeps commenting she is a popular mean girl—we looked into this, she hasn’t done anything wrong.”
“My youngest’s birthday is coming up, and she wants to go to the indoor water park with a few of her friends. We do parties for both girls, so this was fine.”
“She asked if she could have this without her sister since her attitude would ruin her day. I talked it over with my spouse, and we agreed that I would go and watch the kids, and he would stay home with the oldest.”
“Everyone is happy but my oldest.”
“She thinks we are major jerks for not allowing her to go even after we explained why multiple times.”
The OP summed up their conundrum.
“I allowed my youngest not to invite her older sister to her birthday party. I could be a jerk for excluding her even if it was a request by the birthday girl.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors were divided in their opinions, with some deciding the OP was the a**hole (YTA).
“YTA. When your eldest is having jealousy issues with your youngest, not allowing her to go on the fun trip seems like a weird ‘punishment’ or solution.”
“I would definitely have the parent staying with her try to do some special and fun. I get why the youngest might not want her there, though.” ~ wildndf
“OK, I am not going to pass judgment on the relationship between the sisters and who is right or wrong since I am not privy to the details. It seems that the dislike is mutual, but you only attribute blame to one of the parties.”
“With respect to the birthday party, you are slightly YTA. It’s OK for the youngest not to have the oldest at her party, but your husband could go with the oldest to the same place or do something fun with her.”
“You are actually punishing one of them.” ~ MagazineMaximum2709
“I mean, older sister better get not to invite her little sister then, too. But you’re making the divide between them worse.”
“You all need FAMILY counseling. This isn’t just my older sister’s problem. YTA.” ~ BbyMuffinz
“As the scapegoat of my family, this screams favoritism for the younger child.
“Your older child can’t come to you about how they feel because you’ll be dismissive of their feelings.”
“Your oldest can’t trust you. You did that. YTA.” ~ KappaBrink
Some felt the opposite—the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).
“NTA. I grew up with a girl who would get in actual fist fights with her older brother, they hated each other. Neither one of them could ever give a reason, they just hated each other.”
“Once they hit adult age, they finally become really close, almost best friends but from like the time she was 3 up until maybe early 20s, one or both of them was sporting black eyes, bruises, cuts from their fights.”
“Their mom spent years trying to do anything she could to make things better, nothing ever worked, once they hit their teens, she just kinda realized there was nothing she could do, she had tried everything.” ~ PriorAlternative6
“Yeah, my sister and I have the same age gap and I (older sister) was a complete a**hole to younger sister when we were in middle and high school.”
“Our parents were/are great; some kids just clash. We’re best friends now that we’re adults.”
“OP, NTA, but make sure you let your older daughter have space from the younger on her birthday as well.” ~ TheMox19
“Lots of siblings act like this over perceived slights. Teen girls are notoriously mean to sisters.”
“NTA. She is reaping the consequences of her actions.” ~ Ihateyou1975
A few saw no a**holes here (NAH).
“NAH. I’m struggling to call either of your daughters a**holes. It’s clear one is struggling, and one would like a nice and pleasant birthday party.”
“I do think completely excluding your older daughter is a mistake, and it’s only going to drive a further wedge between them and her relationship with you.”
“Could she come to the party with the understanding that if she misbehaves or acts out in any way that Dad will take her home immediately? Give her the opportunity to succeed.”
“She’s in therapy, but are you sure the therapist meshes? Sometimes it takes time and a few tries with different people.”
“Is there any talent she’s really good at that’s not academically related? A sport, cooking, etc… that you can strongly encourage and praise her for?”
“I always felt like I was in the shadow of my older brother, and it wasn’t until we were adults that I could deal with my own sh*t and put that aside. I can’t imagine having a younger sibling that constantly does better than you.”
“It’s not just that aspect of it, but when someone is naturally more gifted and talented, and you are close in age and have to be right there next to them, it’s hard to figure out why things seem to just work out for them and never you.”
“It’s hard. Hopefully them being in different schools next year will help.” ~ Evening_Cat7708
“NAH. Your oldest is borderline, but having an 8th grader myself, I know that’s a tough age. Sometimes there is no perfect solution, you just do the best you can.”
“The only thing I can recommend is having your husband take the oldest to do something fun as well so it feels less like a punishment. It would have the bonus of your oldest being the center of attention without feeling the need to compete.” ~ MxXylda
“I’m going to say NAH and here’s why. I have two younger sisters, I and my middle sister are around the same age difference as OP’s daughters.”
“There is often a lot of pressure on the older sibling to perform, to do well, because they are the first – the ‘guinea pig child’, if you will. There is a lot of abiding by boundaries that an oldest sibling often falls into because they always need to be the ‘example’.”
“Even if the parents try to make sure this isn’t the case, often the older sibling feels a lot of that pressure, so when they are not performing as perfect, not upholding the example of who they are supposed to be in their parent’s eyes there is a lot of feelings of inferiority, especially if the younger siblings begin to surpass them.”
“For a long time in my life, I lashed out at my sister because she was accomplishing so much more and was seemingly good at everything she did, when I was starting to hit difficulties and struggling.”
“I think this is also a time in life where it is normal for siblings to want lives a little separate from one another. My question would be: are your daughters involved in the same activities? Do they want to start to do things where one is separate from another?”
“Is your older daughter struggling with friendships at all that might make her jealous of her sister’s friendships and interests? I was always chubby, and my sister was always very traditionally feminine, pretty, well-liked by the opposite sex, you get my drift.”
“I internalized a lot those bad feelings I had towards myself (through no fault of my parents, I might add—my sister and I are just built differently) and lashed out with the same comments as OP’s older daughter, that my sister was ‘shallow’ a ‘mean popular girl’ and of course I was just ‘not like other girls’.”
“Displaying report cards has nothing to do with where OPs daughter’s feelings are coming from, frankly it’s nice to see parents proudly displaying all accomplishments. There is no ‘winner or loser’ display there, honestly.”
“I think it’s good OP has put her older daughter in counseling and hopefully the older daughter can continue to forge her own identity and start to feel ‘good enough’.” ~ Deliriums_BabelFish
While others thought everyone sucked (ESH).
“ESH. I highly doubt this is over some grades. Also aren’t they still in the same middle school??”
“Normally kids don’t act like this to their siblings unless parents are favoriting the other child.”
“Also what do you mean you ‘looked into it’? How exactly did you, as the parent, look into it?” ~ Empress-Delila
“I feel like ESH to the adults. You all need to go to family therapy before you end up choosing between your two daughters.”
“What’s next, your older doesn’t get to go to her sister’s wedding? Doesn’t get to meet her niece or nephew?”
“Something clearly happened that triggered this ‘jealousy’ and it’s only going to get worse. Step up as parents and seriously deal with what’s going on, before you have to choose between your kids.” ~ LeeAnneBeyondclouds
The OP certainly got some diverse feedback.
Hopefully, their daughters will get past this rough patch.