Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

Sibling rivalry gets weird when your kids start dating

My 17-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter don’t get along that well.

I don’t think they relate to each other, or maybe it’s that my son doesn’t have a lot of interest in his little sister, and she’s always going to be just that — his little sister, and it bothers her so much. She only wants his acceptance and love.

It’s frustrating for me because I want them to have a better relationship. They’re a year apart in school — he’s a junior and she’s a sophomore — and I know she would like more attention and acknowledgment from him, but he’s just not that type of kid.

He says he loves her, and that he’d do anything for her, but he’s not the showy, caring type of big brother she wishes she had.

Except for when she got a boyfriend.

Then he got all sorts of protective.

“I don’t like him,” my son said about the boyfriend. “He’s just going to use her.”

“No he’s not,” I said. “He’s nice to her. He cares about her.” And then I threw in the punch. “And what does it matter to you anyway? You don’t even like your sister.”

“Yes I do. I love her,” he told me.

“You have a funny way of showing it. You’re not really very nice to her, ever.”

When the boyfriend comes around, my older son kind of grunts hello to him, and doesn’t go out of his way to be particularly nice to him. My youngest son, who’s 13, really likes my daughter’s boyfriend and worships his older sister. The three of them get along great. It’s interesting how the dynamics have shifted. Now my oldest is kind of on the outs when the boyfriend comes over.

And then, recently, the tables turned. My oldest son started showing interest in a girl from school that we’ve yet to even meet. They go to the coffee shop to study. They went out to get something to eat. He wants us to meet her.

My daughter overheard all of this.

“I hate her,” my daughter said to me.

“Do you know her from school?” I asked her.

“No. But I hate her,” she said again.


“Because, she can’t date my brother. He’s my brother.”

“That makes no sense at all. Besides, you have a boyfriend. You’re allowed to date. He’s allowed to date, too.”

“I don’t care,” she said. “I will never like her.”

To recap: My two older kids don’t get along very well and could work to have a better relationship. My son doesn’t like the boy my daughter dates. My daughter hates the girl my son is interested in maybe dating even though she’s never seen her or met her.

Does any of this make any sense at all?

I guess this further backs up my theory that teens are terrible. What am I going to do when all three of them bring home people they intend to marry?

More on siblings

Favoritism and sibling rivalry
Sibling rivalry stressors
When is sibling teasing too much?

Leave a Comment