18 Disadvantages & Drawbacks of Having Siblings (Privacy, Rivalry,…)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

kids are fighting over toys at home

If you grew up as an only child, going life “solo” might have made you feel like you’re missing out on something. And maybe you did. The bickering, the squabbling, the inferiority complexes…okay, okay, it’s not quite that bad. But one thing must be noted; many people feel they are missing out by not having siblings when, in reality, they haven’t quite considered the many drawbacks and disadvantages of having them.

Yup, it sounds pretty bleak, doesn’t it? If you are wondering why having siblings isn’t all sunshine and bumbles bees, read on. Below, we’ll discuss the disadvantages of having brothers or sisters.

These are 18 disadvantages and drawbacks of having siblings:  

1. There are possible conflicts and personality clashes.

Conflicts can arise when siblings have very different personalities. One might like to joke around a lot while the other is more serious. This can cause one or both siblings to become irritable and annoyed – which, of course, gives rise to conflict.

2. You have to share your belongings.

As kids, this is probably the hardest part. Many times, there’s not enough money to buy double of everything, so siblings have to learn to share. Of course, as adults, this is no longer an issue. 

3. There’s someone to compete with for attention.

It doesn’t matter how old we get, some of us will always compete with our siblings for attention. Most siblings want the parents to dote on them the most, and this can spark a life-long struggle of comparisons and inferiority complexes.

4. They pass the blame.

Sometimes, siblings have a nasty habit of being so comfortable with you that they pass the blame when something goes wrong. Who lost the TV remote? You did, of course – at least that’s what your sibling maintains. You might have to watch your back if you have a sibling ready to cast blame when things go awry.

5. You don’t get to really know each other.

One of the saddest parts of being siblings is that you might never really get to know who your sibling is. If you were an outsider – a friend, you would get to know them on a personal level, and that allows for a completely different level of bonding. Many siblings don’t spend much time trying to bond and share, and by the time you get to an age where you want a relationship with your sibling; a lot of time will have already passed, and you might find that you don’t know him/her that much.  

6. Privacy is something you can only dream of.

When you are an only child, you don’t have to find quiet places to be alone with your thoughts. When you have a sibling, there’s always someone around. Listening, talking, taking up your personal space – it can really be quite uncomfortable.

7. Less to go around (more siblings cost money).

Want something expensive for your birthday? Chances are that your gifts are going to be more practical and well-priced when you have siblings. After all, there’s not enough money to give everyone exactly what they want.

kids fighting over electronic gadget

8. People tend to treat you the same (when you are quite different people).

All siblings will be able to recall the numerous times they have been mistaken for their brother/sister. And many know that people tend to assume that because you are siblings, you like the same things, feel the same about life, and are basically the same person….cue matching Christmas and birthday gifts! This is one of the more personally annoying parts of having a sibling.

9. They aren’t required to be friendly or polite to you.

Unlike strangers and friends, siblings don’t feel a need or desire to be particularly nice or polite to their brothers and sisters. This is probably more of an issue as children growing up, because as adults, you will begin to see your siblings a little differently.

10. You never really get alone time or “me time”.

Ever just wanted to soak in the bath for an hour with a good book? Want to spend an evening in your PJs practicing self-care? Chances are that on those nights, your siblings are rowdy or inconsiderate – and there goes your dreams of a bit of “me time”.

11. There’s usually a snitch in the house. 

Yup, it’s true. You get away with a lot less when there’s a sibling in the house witnessing your every move. With a sibling around, prepare to have the finger pointed at you when you sneak the last piece of pie or climb out your window to spend time with your friends.

12. You have to watch out for someone else. 

If you’re the older sibling, you can’t just go to school and do your own thing. You have to make sure that your siblings are safe and happy too…it’s your responsibilityHaving to watch out for someone else for most of your life can be a bit of a hack, especially if you are a highly independent person. 

13. Even if you don’t like them, you’re stuck with them for life!

How unfortunate it would be if your siblings turned out to be people you don’t actually like or enjoy. Then what? Well, the reality is that you can’t choose your family, so you are stuck with them for life. You have to find a way to deal with them and have a decent relationship.

14. As you get older, you feel judged.

Having siblings is less stress-filled as kids because you are all in the same boat, but as you get older and each of you chooses their paths in life, there’s room for judgment. If you have gone to college, passed, and been unable to find a job or career, you might be judged by your siblings. Similarly, if you just can’t seem to find your way as an adult, you can sometimes expect your siblings to judge you.

15. You get to spend your entire life trying to be better than someone else. 

You might not even realize it, but you probably spend a lot of time measuring yourself up to your siblings.  

16. Sibling rivalry is a real thing!

Unfortunately, this is something that plays out throughout life. Bickering, squabbling, and just being disagreeable with each other for no real reason is something that seems to happen between siblings. And it is anything but pleasant. 

Kids fighting in the backseat of a car

17. One sibling always gets the hand-me-downs.

Usually, the oldest sibling gets all the luck. The parents will always compare the rest of the kids to the oldest, and the oldest always gets the best clothing and presents – because they are new. Hand-me-downs are nothing new to kids with siblings. If you want all new things of your own, you might not enjoy having a sibling.

18. They try to date your best mates.

Yup, as you get older, you can expect your best friend and your sibling to notice each other. And soon you could be feeling like the 3rd wheel in the situation. How annoying, right?

Last Word

Being a sibling is probably just as hard as having one. Some siblings fit in with each other, and some just don’t – that’s just the reality of life. Whether these disadvantages ring true or not, it’s a good idea to make the most of the relationship you have with your siblings as they are most likely the only people who will be there for you your entire life, no matter what.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.