Column: Sibling rivalry and the oppressed victim movement


“Dad, it’s not my fault!”

My daughter, without any prompting, jumped straight into justifying the fact she hit her older brother.

My son, standing alongside his sister, tilted his head back, rolled his eyes and replied.

“Come on dad, can’t you see it’s not my fault? All I did was tell her she was wrong.”

The truth is their tension goes way beyond this one event. However, something stood out to me I hadn’t noticed before.

All my children naturally fight for the spot of victim. From a young age they knew if they could secure this spot in any situation, they gain sympathy and are off the hook for their poor decisions with little to no consequences.

Our culture is birthing a victim movement. Have you ever noticed this isn’t just exclusive to children? Watch the news. Everyone is fighting for the spot of oppressed victim. Even those with massive power and influence work diligently to appear hurt by other groups. The voices of those who are truly in need are lost in the choir of those who play the game really well. The orphans starve, the mentally disabled go without help and the elderly widows still sit alone. Why? Because they can’t play the game well. It’s not cool to help those who truly need the most help anymore. I don’t want my kids to steal the light of society’s mercy from those who truly need it!

So here is what we do and some things to try:

  • Build perspective – When they hurt, acknowledge it and help, yet always give perspective. With wisdom, tell them about real suffering around the world. Let them see your compassion and encourage compassion in them.
  • Make holidays about giving more than getting.
  • Instead of only asking your kids how their day was at school, ask them how they thought their teacher’s day was, or how their friend’s day was. Get them thinking outside of themselves.
  • In sibling rivalries, instead of rewarding the child who makes the best case for the victim, make much of the child who offers real strategies to improve the situation.
  • Teach ethics, morality and responsibility to your children with the same fervor you would mathematics or natural sciences. In our home we define “right” by the teachings of Jesus Christ. How do you teach selflessness? Visit

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