How A Competitive Spirit Can Destroy Sibling Relationships

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Episode Summary

If you don’t proactively combat competitiveness between your kids it will grow into destructive behavior that hurts their relationships long term and more. We also discuss how you the parent might be perpetuating a competitive spirit in your family.

This is a sensitive topic on the challenges a competitive spirit can have on your family and legacy. This relates to marriage too, if we have it in our marriage they will mimic us. This is a big warning to parents.

Someone once said, “Familiarity breeds contempt”. When we are really familiar with each other we tend to take each other for granted and stop giving our best to the relationships.

Not all competition is bad. Our heart is to give you a balanced perspective. We as Christians are told to run a race and there’s an enemy trying to take us out. We must prepare our kids to run the race and beat the enemy as well.

A competitive spirit largely is very dangerous. Many well-intentioned parents are cultivating bad sibling relationships in their families.\

Think about these questions real quick

  • Do your kids fight?
  • A spirit of me versus we? 
  • Do your kids one-upping one another?
  • Does jealousy show up in your family?

Parents can unintentionally encourage dangerous competitiveness  saying things like;

  • “How come you can’t be more like your brother in…?”
  • “Your sister can do it, why can’t you?”   
  • “You always…You never…but she does it well..”

Never say these kinds of things because what you are doing is creating a competitive spirit within your children.

You are building today what you want tomorrow

A question that comes when you speak about this is “If we don’t want to create a competitive spirit within my kids, should I prevent them from doing sports?”  

The answer is no, sports can be very positive if parents lead their kids about it properly.

There are a lot of good things about competitive sports

  • Work ethic, teamwork, endurance
  • Pushing to being your best.
  • Developing confidence that’s an anchor for attempting greater things.
  • Pursuing excellence.
  • Friendships from going through something together.
  • If a great coach, perhaps a code of conduct.

God calls us to do everything unto the Lord. We should be focused on giving our best versus better than others. We shouldn’t want someone else to fail.


This shows up in adulthood

  • With men it often shows up in greeting someone new, finding out what each other do for work. But it’s sometimes done with a competitive spirit, sizing eachother up kind of experience.
    • In God’s eyes work is work, nobody’s work is more important than some elses as long as it’s good.
    • That competitive spirit can ruin fellowship with other men
  • With Women, it’s comparison of family, looks, and lifestyle.

We should be sober-minded about ourselves and comparing our character to what God expects of Christians.

If you haven’t been parenting in a way that corrects this, it’s never too late. 

Ask your kids, why do you want to win so bad? Talk this out from a Biblical perspective.

The wind of culture is blowing towards a competitive spirit, so we have to combat that consistently with our influence. There’s no quick fix.

It’s a lot of small decisions made consistently over and over again, over a long period of time while they are in your home.

Either you are cultivating a spirit of humility and glorifying God, or pride and arrogance in your kids.

When the wind is blowing one way, you are the parent pushing against it the other way.

What do we want their identity wrapped up in?  Their own ability, or who they are in Christ?

What are we preparing our kids for, this world or the next?

Challenges Of Competitiveness With Siblings

Beware of encouraging ageism

  • If the goal is only to be challenged and win at things, then they won’t want to place with the younger kids.

Don’t Become A Performance-Based Home

  • Is there pressure to be perfect?
  • Do your kids feel like if they don’t perform, they will be loved less?
  • In the early years, kids adapt to whatever gets the most love from their parents.
  • This drives kids doing activities they may not even care about.
  • This creates a works-based belief system causing a spiritual belief that’s a works-based to please God and go to heaven.


It’s vital our kids know we love them no matter what

  • Tell your kids “I love you, no matter what you do”.
  • Make sure your behavior matches this

We should teach our kids;

  • Win well is a skill taught by parents.
  • How to lose well is also an important skill taught by parents.
  • Teach about Gossip.
  • Reminding kids of their selfishness and how that departs from Godliness and hurts relationships.

How to work with your kids on this

  • Talk to them about how it makes their sibling feel
  • Ask why they feel the need to tell everyone how good they are
  • Remind them of the importance to put their relationship ahead of themselves looking good.
  • Correct your kid if he’s having a hard time learning from another sibling, even if they are younger.
  • Don’t let your kids use “Best Friend”. It is exclusive and puts others out. 

Here’s a Recent Example We Used With Our Kids On How Not To Be:

>>>>> article on the US Women’s Soccer Team, “Megan Rapinoe Is No Leader”

Scripture In This Episode

Hebrews 12:1-2Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”

Philippians 2:2-4fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

James 3:5-7Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.”

James 4:1 “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”

Luke 9:46-48Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”


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Thank you for being part of this movement to equip 1 million families and their legacies with Biblical truth to raise confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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