It all started with Cain and Abel, got bloody during the Civil War, blew up primetime (and now cable) with JR and Bobby, and has been a daytime staple from radio to today (with The Smothers Brothers giving rise to the whine: Mom Always Loved You Best).
No one can deny that sibling rivalry makes for good drama, whether it's B&B's Stephanie favoring Ridge over Thorne (and the girl, whatever her name is), James Stenbeck on ATWT perennially digging up new heirs to pit against his presumed scion, Paul, Y&R's Leslie feeling like she was living in her sister Lori's shadow (and writing a whole book about it), not to mention Adam's current issues, DOOL's Sami's ongoing one-sided feud with the presumed perfect Carrie, GH's adopted Michael making mean puppy dog eyes at Sonny's "real son" Dante, or AW's Iris being threatened by any new sibling who might divert dear Daddy's attention from her. The list is truly endless.
Experts and arm-chair psychiatrists both in-universe and out have spent decades pondering the motivation and meaning behind parents treating siblings differently.
Now, I humbly offer my own take on the subject in Kveller.com:
I recently sent my third child off to kindergarten. My only girl, my last baby, looking all grown up with her hair in a ponytail, wearing a backpack, clutching a lunch box. And I’ve got to admit, I’m feeling kind of… bored by the whole thing.
When my oldest went off to preschool for the first time, I read the handbook they gave us like it was The Holy Grail, terrified of making a mistake (oh, no, did I build the wrong kind of art smock?) and veering his entire educational future off-course for want of sewing ability. I attended every parent meeting and curriculum night. I volunteered for field-trips and saved his “report cards.”
When it was time for my second son, my “less easy” child to attend the same preschool, I was so terrified wondering whether he’d even walk through the doors, whether he’d stay, and, most importantly, what he’d do the minute my back was turned, that every day was a never-ending adventure.
By the time my daughter started her first year (ultimately, I spent seven years at the same preschool, six of them consecutive), I was pretty much over it. I was done with the trips to the firehouse and pumpkin-picking at the farm and The American Museum of Natural History’s dinosaur exhibit. I was particularly unconcerned about the art smock. If it was good enough for her brothers, it was good enough for her. Let the art commence!
I dragged myself to the Welcome Meetings, though I had the teachers’ introductory benediction memorized by that point. I felt it was important that my daughter saw me going, so she’d know her education was just as important to me as her two brothers’ had been. Because, of course, it was. Just not quite so demonstratively.
Read the entire piece at: http://www.kveller.com/blog/parenting/my-third-child-started-kindergaten-and-im-over-it/
Could I be on to something, here? Could the real reason for all that soapy angst simply be that, by the time the younger child arrives, the parents are just... tired?
Let me know in the Comments, and also chime in about your favorite case of soapy sibling rivalry!