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How to Handle Adult Sibling Rivalry—And Stop the Tug-of-War Over Money

Think that sibling rivalry should be a thing of your past just because you and your siblings are now adults?

If only that were true.

Sibling rivalry and family division can show up at any stage of life.

It can be especially triggered when the issue of an inheritance comes up after a parent dies.

And when this sibling conflict comes up in adulthood, that’s actually a good sign that those deeper childhood issues are ready to be dealt with.

Find out how you can start to clear these painful issues from your own life so you can handle the conflict with more grace and ease—and plant the seeds for family unity…even when it may seem impossible.

Your sibling conflict isn’t really about what you think it’s about.

If the issue of inheritance money is causing sibling rivalry among you and your adult siblings, you need to know this: It’s actually not about the money!

I know it may seem like money is the source of the conflict, but money in this case is just the trigger that is bringing these issues up for you so you can begin to clear them.

In this mini-healing session video with Theresa, she’s asked for my help in dealing with the messy situation of receiving an inheritance—sparking even more division in their family system.

Find out what the role of money really means in this story and how healing family division from your end can start the road to family unity.

What step can you take to bring healing and unity to yourself and your siblings? Share your tips and comments below. 

How Not to Have Your Children Fighting Over Your Money After You Die

Every family faces conflict. And in an ideal world, when a parent dies, the remaining family members should be able to come together to grieve and comfort one another.

But in today’s world where family division has become an all-to-common experience, that sadly is not always the case.

As you saw in Theresa’s story in the video, the death of their mother didn’t create the family division. The inheritance issue only exposed the division that was already there.

After the loss of a parent, everyone was feeling emotionally deprived and starved for love.

When families are divided, inheritance money represents a replacement for a parent’s love. And any sibling who is feeling a lack of love will naturally try to grab as much as they can to feel better.

I know you don’t want this disunity for your own family.  No good parent wants their children to feel like the parents were playing favorites from the grave.

If you are a parent with adult children, here’s what you can do now:

1. Find an appropriate time with all the family present and talk to your adult children about your will and end-of-life wishes when all the family is present.

Today’s families are more open than decades ago when no one talked about these supposed private matters.

2. Take proactive steps to build family unity and repair relationships now with each of your children.

If divorce and a blended family is part of your family system, this is especially important.

Let every member of your family know how much they are loved and valued. Start today!

For more support in healing your childhood issues that are causing you pain today, visit the Carol Tuttle Healing Center at caroltuttle.com and get interactive online sessions to help you release old patterns today. 

You can also check out the “Clear Your Childhood Issues” CD.

Image by toffeehoff

Carol Tuttle

Carol Tuttle is a teacher, speaker, healer, and best-selling author of five books. She has dedicated her life to helping people worldwide create the lives and relationships they desire. She blogs to support you in creating your ideal life.


Tell Us What You Think


  • CarolHarada

    Thank you, Theresa, for sharing your healing process. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother and the pain this has caused. Whatever you decide, it will come from a more whole place in you. May all be well with you and your siblings!

    Thank you, Carol, for reminding us about our choices as adults caring for the inner child.

    Although my inner child still has resentment towards my parents for not treating us kids equally — my brother treated like a prince, and us girls doing all the chores — at least there won’t be a fight over money. My mother’s going to split her estate equally. I just want her to live longer and well. I know every visit with her is precious. Grateful for family as our most challenging teachers and sweetest gifts.

  • Ciel

    What a powerful insight into a real situation that is inherently difficult and emotional.
    Yes, our adult selves must take the high road in spite of the hurt our 5 year old self feels or the anger our 12 year old self wishes to manifest. Only adult choices bring about the change we wish to enact.

  • Vitor Souza

    Hi Carol. It’s been an year since the first time I started to read your blog and I love it. I’m from Brazil. I have seen that you are a very smart and wise women, and to me in the past year I had a great opportunity to learn and grown with what you have taught. And today I have a question for you. It’s very simple. To you, what’s your definition of family? I would like you to share this with me, because I know that what we take for us as family really influences the way we relate to one. And I wanna improve my concept of family. I reckon it’s necessary and make a huge difference in family life.