Sibling competition is part of growing up


Courtesy of Katie Juckniess

Charlie and his two sisters, Grace (middle) and Annie (right), smile nice and wide for a little family photo shoot.

When talking about friendly competition, sibling rivalries would fit that bill perfectly—at least it would for me. Growing up, my two sisters, Grace and Annie, and I would constantly partake in pointless games just to prove our dominance over one another—games such as who can jump off the couch further, who can climb that tree the highest, and who can run around the house quicker, all of which had really no correlation with anything to actually boast about. Aside from competing against one another in the same setting, we also began comparing our performances in the respective sports we played to assert our dominance from an all-around athletic stand-point.

As we got older, competition stemmed from academic successes rather than athletic feats. For example, if any of us Juckniess children had a test coming up that overlapped with any of the siblings, we would put in extra effort to make sure we scored better in our respective categories than the other. You could see this as beneficial for our study habits and grades, but really it just sparked unnecessarily venomous arguments between the siblings that lasted an extensive period of time.

Though we may have fought, the games we played and the contests we held definitely helped us grow closer together.”

— Charlie Juckniess

These malicious eruptions heightened once more when we attended the same high school. When course selection rolled around each semester, we siblings would select courses with extreme rigor in order to stay afloat in the next “scholarly status” debate. If I weren’t on track with my older sister’s classes—which I wasn’t—I knew I’d surrender my intellectual superiority to her. A few years later, I was once again topped by my younger sister when she decided to surpass my mathematical track and take classes I took my sophomore year when she was a freshman. It’s safe to say my academic prowess was no longer comparative to that of my two sisters.

Defeating my siblings in anything I deemed worthy of contest became routine for my daily lifestyle. I felt I needed to win in order to boost and maintain my self-esteem. It seems quite silly now, but before I outgrew my immaturities, competition between my sisters was fun. It was something I looked forward to each day—until it consistently ended with bitter emotions. When looking back at the constant familial banter, I realized our competitive spirits and natures slowly disappeared as we got older. Our pointless outbursts ceased to exist, especially once the distance between siblings increased—when the oldest left the nest for college. Routing my siblings in anything and everything didn’t matter anymore. It is no longer something that even crosses my mind.

Some of our competitions may have ended in tears and/or in arguments. Do I regret these recurring competitions? No, not at all actually. Though we may have fought, the games we played and the contests we held definitely helped us grow closer together.