Stepbrother Rivalry: Taking It to Another Level

Posted June 29, 2011 by

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My children are six-and-a-half years apart, so I have always considered myself lucky that they never seemed to have sibling rivalry issues. Imagine my surprise when I met my now-husband, and a competition developed between his 2-year-old (at the time) and my then- 5-year-old son! His other son was 6 and we expected the competition to be between the two of them, not the 2 year old! What we saw was that my son and the 6 year old did not have a lot in common as far as playing. They got along well enough, but they did not like the same toys. In fact, the 6 year old was more into reading, hanging with the grown-ups  and computer “stuff” than playing with action figures, Legoes, cars or Imaginext. BUT the 2 year old was!! He coveted my son’s toys. He wanted to play with it all and my son wanted no part of that. And so it began…

Still, dealing with it on weekends and holidays was nothing compared to what we deal with now that they are living together.You’d think by the ages of 14 and 11 respectively that they’d have gotten past the competition and rivalry. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. They tattle on one another. They fight over the TV and computer. They seem to take everything to new levels. They even fought over my Mother’s Day gift. (Of course I was not made aware of this until it was over, but my husband was driven nuts for WEEKS!) Both boys enlisted the help of someone else to get my gift. My son turned to his grandmother and my stepson, to his own mom. At one point my son told me he was angry because his stepbrother “copied” him and got me the same gift. He did not want to give it away, but he was very angry. My husband told me it was “different but the same.” My hope was, “Really? I got TWO KINDLES?!!”

Finally, Mother’s Day came and you got it, they fought over who would give me their gift first. The build-up was high. I honestly had no idea what each had bought me. I opened the first gift. As I was unwrapping it, I was told by my son that he and his grandmother searched the Internet for my gift and had it shipped directly to his grandmom’s house so I would not see a package arrive at home. All sorts of things went through my head. What could it be? A mug! A very special mug, picked out from all the other mugs on the Internet, especially for me to drink my morning coffee from! Then I opened my stepson’s gift and you guessed it, another mug. (See? The same, but different.)  He shared the story of shopping with his mom and seeing a mug he thought I’d like. They went back later to buy it because he decided that was what he wanted to get me.

I was thrilled with my new mugs. You’d think that would be the end, right? Oh, no! Now I find out that they are COUNTING how many times I use each mug!!


I am a mom of two boys, ages 16 and 22, both with ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. I have remarried and my husband has 2 boys, ages 13 and 16. The 13 year old lives with us, and has some behavioral problems and attachment issues. There is always something happening at our house!

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