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Sibling Rivalry
Sibling Rivalry

Learn English with this family English lesson

Date: Feb 12 2020

Themes: Family

Grammar: Contractions and Abbreviations


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If you have any brothers or sisters, you probably spent time competing when you were little. It’s likely that you would argue over who got the bigger cookie, or who got to sit in the best seat in the car. It’s not unusual for children to try to outdo each other. It’s all part of growing up.

This doesn’t change for many people once they’re adults. Workers try to one up each other at the office. Athletes work hard to win games or be best in the world. It’s not necessary to have a sibling, either. You can be an only child and enjoy the challenge of doing your best, and the benefit of everyone’s attention.

Did Lily and Rafael experience sibling rivalry? Find out in the following English lesson.


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Lily:  So, Rafa, I noticed that you got a call from your brother today. What was that about?

Rafael:  He just wanted to argue with me about something. He and I are always competing.

Lily:  Oh, really?

Rafael:  Yeah. Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Lily:  No, I’m an only child, so I never really had to deal with that. But I kind of always wanted a sibling of some sort. You know, somebody to share things with. That kind of thing?

Rafael:  So, you have no superiority complex? Or no brother insecurity? Anything like that?

Lily:  No. I always thought sibling rivalry was kind of a myth. Is it, like…

Rafael:  It’s definitely not a myth. Trust me. When my brother calls me, he and I argue all the time. We’re really competitive. He’s always trying to one up me.

Lily:  You’re constantly grappling for recognition. That kind of thing?

Rafael:  Anything he does, I want to outdo him. Anything I do, he just wants to put it down.

Lily:  So, are you the younger brother? The older brother? Or what?

Rafael:  I’m the middle child. That’s the worst one to be.

Lily:  Because you don’t really get any attention, do you?

Rafael:  No. Do only children need lots of attention?

Lily:  I think everyone needs attention.


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Rafael’s brother called and Lily wants to know why. He says that his brother called to argue like he always does. They grew up competing with each other, and that has never stopped. Rafael doesn’t sound very excited to have heard from him.

Lily can’t understand Rafael’s experience because she grew up as an only child. In fact, she tells him that she has always wondered if siblings really fight and compete as much as they say they do. Rafael tells Lily that it’s absolutely true, at least for him and his brother!

Were you an only child, or did you grow up with brothers or sisters? Did you and your siblings spend time trying to outdo each other?



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I think sibling rivalry is normal, as far as siblings understand limits.  I’m the oldest one, I used to tease my sisters a lot when we were young.

But now we are very close to each other.  We grew up and they trust me because I know them better than any other person.

I love them, they are my babies :D

11:40 PM Jan 18 2014 |

1 person likes this



United States

it’s called a blemish in the upbringing) 

07:29 AM Jan 16 2014 |

1 person likes this




I have two elder sisters. We get on well with others in a family. No sibling rivarly.

02:55 AM Jan 16 2014 |

3 people like this



i have abig brother and a younger sister

when we were little child, we always argue  even it is just some little thing such as  whose clothes is much beautiful or whose  school score is high?

but after we grow up, we always share the thing in life and support each other bcz we are  family

i love my sister and my brother, of course love dad and mum

02:31 PM Jan 15 2014 |

1 person likes this




there are two kids in my family, i have a elder borther, he elder then me only one year, we always argue with each other when we were child, but now we both of us grewn up, so we are so friendness, my borther is very love me, when i need his help, he alway gave me a hand on time, so i am feeling so happy,i have a brother who like him.

02:02 PM Jan 15 2014 |



I have only one sister, she is older to me we both are always competing with each other when we were in childhood, i always wanted to be first in every aspect, but when i grew up and staying away from my sis, i am feeling very lonely even after i got married also.So in my opinion sibling rivalry is only exist in childhood, it does not grow with age.

11:31 AM Jan 15 2014 |

1 person likes this




I am the only child in my family which doesn’t mean those rivalries would stay away from me ,The compete with cousin even children from neighborhood is always exist ,that’s terrible.

01:07 AM Jan 14 2014 |




I used to play power rangers with my sisters, good times. I was red they were yellow and rose.

12:12 AM Jan 14 2014 |




Sergio, definitely it pushes you to be better. The same with me when I was pushed out of the stage. I climbed back and was working more energetically with my elbows for the right spot and to find my rival. Like in Starskyy and Hutch!

07:56 PM Jan 13 2014 |




Oh, my God, Jason. That’s so many sisters and brothers you have! I can’t even imagine how it feels. Must be always hectic, is it? What’s the age difference?

07:53 PM Jan 13 2014 |

1 person likes this




I’m not an only child in the family. I have a sister. She’s one year older than me. We grow up together. But as all children not everything was so good. Of course she is older than me and I always think that she is better than me in everything. Yes as it often happens between sisters we had some fights and competes and argues when we were little girls. I always thought that everyone love her more than me. I could say like it was a childish jealosy. Even now when we grow up sometimes it happens to argue with each other because of many stupid things. But anyway I love my sister and I have no sibling besides her in my life. 

07:53 PM Jan 13 2014 |




I remember i had this rivalry with my older brother with playing soccer. I wanted to outdo him, but i confess that i never was like him! but, on the other hand, it pushed me to play better!!

07:06 PM Jan 13 2014 |



Congo, Democratic Republic Of The

I’m the elder brother of a 10-children family, and what I just want is to be the same, no question of superiority. I don’t want anyone to hurt another.

I never want something bad to happen between me and  my siblings.

06:48 PM Jan 13 2014 |

Ngubo Sixtus

South Africa

let is a good lesson to me becauase i learn that sibling do compete for things. by my side i got no one i can compete with.

05:19 PM Jan 13 2014 |




 there’s one of my brothers that I always in rivalry with him . I’m older than him about 8 years , he always keep his mind and never listen to me he think that he is stronger than me ,smarter than me ,so why would he listen to me .
he hate me a lot ,he is in argue with me 24/7  about anything you can imagine I thank it’s just a period of time and he will deal with me well . cuz I was someday like him when I was child I was fighting to outdo everybody around me not just my older brother .

I agree with Refael that Sibling Rivalry is not a myth for childern and even for adults . Depends on the person’s understanding of life .

03:31 PM Jan 13 2014 |




Yes, I was. I grew up as an only child. I didn’t have this kind of problem.

But in professional life. I do try very hard do things better….

03:05 PM Jan 13 2014 |



Ive got one younger brother. We used to argue over many trivial things. Lately I dont chat with him coz we live in different places each other. But Im cheering him inside my heart though my brother isnt cheering me maybe ;)

02:59 PM Jan 13 2014 |

1 person likes this


Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i come from a big family 3 bro 3 sis . i am 6th child when i was child i most of time had argue with my little bro as he was younger then m n i couldnt win in argue with my older bro n sis ,nw i get my mom attention like the others n there’s no differencs

02:55 PM Jan 13 2014 |



Syrian Arab Republic

I’m the middle child. When we were kids there was a kind of sibling rivalry but now we managed to overcome such outdoing idea.

02:45 PM Jan 13 2014 |




Oh family. The most important thing in life.

I’ve got an older brother, one twin sister and a younger sister. However my only problem was with my brother. As far as I remeber all the time he was trying to show himself off, stronger and smarter than me as well as CALL THE SHOTS and I always said him when i got older i would prove u who i am. However female siblings were really kind to me. what a really sweet days. Maybe u think I PUT A SPIN ON it. But I suppose it will RING TRUE for all guys who have older brother and even worse if they have more than one. 

I think working rivalry along with school competition is more common than sibling rivalry. 

02:43 PM Jan 13 2014 |

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