- General Information and Historical Background
- Psychological Impact of Sibling Relationships
- Sibling Relationships across Cultures
- Factors that Influence the Quality of Sibling Relations
- Effects of Successful vs. Unsuccessful Sibling Relations
- How to Influence Closeness in Sibling Relations
- Reference List
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Research on children relationships takes three divergent routes. The research on parent–child relationships focuses on how parents establish and/or maintain relationships with their children. The second approach entails how children form relationships with their peers in different social settings such as schools.
The third approach, which is the main focus of this thesis, is on children relationships with their siblings. This kind of relationship exists long after the demise of one’s parents and long before one meets his or her spouse. In this sense, it may be regarded as the longest relationship that people form in their lives.
It determines children social competences and their capacity to resolve conflicts positively. Hence, the connection is critical in their emotional and cognitive developments (Kennedy, & Kramer, 2008, p. 568).
Using peer-reviewed journal articles, the current thesis begins with a discussion of the general informational and historical background of sibling relationships. It then discusses psychological impacts of sibling relationships, their differences across cultures, factors that influence them and their effects on siblings.
In the last section, the thesis addresses the ways of ensuring closeness in sibling relationships.
General Information and Historical Background
Most people are brought up together with sisters and brothers. Sibling relationships are characterized by conflicts, intimacy, rivalry, and warmth during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood (Dixon, Reyes, Leppert & Pappas, 2008, p. 119).
The type of sibling relationships depends on different factors such as attachment levels, the environment in which children are brought up, and family constellation.
For example, the process of modernization and industrialization increases social mobility such that siblings become detached from one another with time (Knigge, Maas, Leeuwen, & Mandemakers, 2014, p.549). Attachment between children and their parents has a powerful role in the development of social-emotional traits at childhood.
Ward, Vaughan, and Robb (1988) posit that parent-child attachments predict future child competences and interaction behaviors with peers and siblings (p.643). There is scholarly contention that early children relationships are critical in determining their identity and personality.
Since parents and siblings form the first relationships with infants, there has been intense interest in studying the influence of parents and sibling relationships on psychological development of children from infancy and early childhood through adolescence to adulthood (Kolak, & Volling, 2011, p. 214).
Psychoanalytic approach to family relations forms one of the earliest attempts to explain sibling relationships. This school of thought is associated with psychologist Sigmund Freud. Sigmund interpreted sibling relations as a manifestation of Oedipus complex.
Under the situation, male siblings compete for maternal attention while female siblings compete for the attention of their fathers.
Although contentious, psychologists such as Alfred Adler assert that siblings build their personality through struggles to gain significance from their parents and that birth order is an important determinant of the development of sibling personalities (Boll, Ferring, & Filipp, 2005, p. 155).
Psychologist David Levy suggested in 1941 that siblings exhibit rivalry with older siblings. They show an aggressive behavior towards new infant siblings in such a typical way so that it can be sufficiently considered a normal character of sibling relationships.
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Any behavior towards a newborn sibling is related to the perception of different changes in the previous relationships between firstborns and the parents so that people’s psychological processes can be said to influence sibling relationships.
Cross-section and longitudinal researches that were conducted in the 21st century reveal that sibling relations influence the personality of individuals.
With the identified risk factors to poor sibling relationships, various studies by identify aggression prevention and conflicts prevention as important strategies for creating positive sibling relationships (Murray, Dwyer, Rubin, Knighton-Wisor, & Booth-LaForce, 2014, p.1361; Buist & Vermande, 2014, p.529).
In the literature on quality of sibling relationships, focus has been made on studying psychological implications of sibling relationships, variations in sibling relationships in societies, and the implications of their successful and unsuccessful development.
Psychological Impact of Sibling Relationships
Siblings’ psychological processes influence their identity formation. A longitudinal research by Wong, Branje, VanderValk, Hawk, and Meeus (2010) studied the contribution of siblings in the process of forming identities both in the adolescence stage and in adulthood (p. 673).
After analyzing their results, the researchers concluded, “both the gender and birth order of siblings affect whether their identity formation processes influence those of adolescents and the emerging adults” (Wong et al., 2010, p.673).
Murray et al. (2014) supports this claim by citing some researchers claiming that during adolescence, psychological adjustments influence identity formation (p.1372).
The psychological perception of one’s siblings affects the formation of identities through identification and differentiation processes. Through recognition, siblings observe and imitate other siblings’ behaviors. Where one perceives that his or her siblings’ behaviors are inappropriate, identity is formed through differentiation.
Through differentiation, during puberty and maturity, siblings distinguish themselves from others to create uniqueness in behaviors and socialization processes (Wong et al., 2010, p.674).
Different identities and socialization processes that form the personality of siblings may impair sibling relationships due to more disagreements and low cooperation levels.
There is growing research evidence that links psychological impacts of sibling relationships. For example, Buist and Vermande (2014) assert that sibling relationships have identifiable implications on psychosocial functioning of children (p.529).
Some of the indicators of the level of quality sibling relationships are warmth and conflicts (Randell, & Peterson, 2009, p. 859). Warmth refers to the psychological feeling of intimacy and the capacity of a sibling to provide companionship (Gamble, Yu, & Kuehn, 2011, p. 606).
Emotional attraction towards one’s siblings determines whether to connect more or retract from one’s siblings’ warmth or companionship. Hatred constitutes a psychological emotion that influences sibling relationships. Hatred and perceptions of competition for parental attention can influence the degree of closeness between siblings.
The two elements have the potential of forming sibling relationships based on negative conflicts and proactive aggression.
Psychological processes during interactions between parents and other siblings influence sibling relationships. Attachment theory holds that consistent care giving is critical to ensuring the development of secure attachment.
To determine the effects of maternal attachment on sibling relationships, Kennedy, Betts, and Underwood (2014,) studied the quality of mothers’ attachment in the context of maternal interactions with a child and other siblings (p.287).
The study revealed high sensitivity levels among mothers and their older siblings, but more positive emotions in younger sibling-mother interactions. This observation suggests that mothers can induce emotional attachment between siblings. The move influences their childhood, adolescence, and adulthood relationships.
Sibling Relationships across Cultures
In their literature review on cross-cultural differences in sibling relationships, Buist, Paalman, and Branje (2014) identify different studies that confirm cultural differences in sibling relationships among western and non-western societies (p. 267).
They reveal how past studies define sibling relationships in terms of love-hate dimension, which reflects individuation and competition that are associated with western cultures (Buist et al., 2014, p.267). In the western cultures, siblings have discretionary type of sibling interactions.
They are encouraged to remain in close contact. Some elder brothers and sisters may be required to assume the role of taking care of their other younger blood relatives while their parents assume the main duty of attending to their kids.
However, in the case of non-industrialized cultures, forming relationships with younger siblings constitutes an obligation for older siblings (Buist et al., 2014, p.267). This observation suggests that cultural norms and values advocate strong cooperation and closeness among siblings in such cultures (Kretschmer, & Pike, 2010, p. 411).
Children spend most of their time with their peers than their parents while growing up. Through this interaction, Cicirelli (1995) confirms how they form their characters and learn effective skills on socializing and care-taking of each other (p. 23).
Therefore, siblings act as cultural brokers who transfer values and practices across generations. Regardless of the widespread inclination in sibling associations, the society shows differences in family affairs.
In industrialized nations such as the United States, siblings are defined mainly by biological relations, which focus on the immediate family as the defining factor of relationship (Tarakeshwar, Lobato, Kao & Plante, 2006, Para. 2).
In other countries, all kids within an equivalent age bracket are considered brothers and sisters, while other cultures deploy a discrete characterization to distinguish brothers and sisters by considering their masculinity or femininity traits and birth arrangements.
More respect and responsibility are usually placed on older siblings across all generations. Children influence each other as they grow. A child’s character is determined by his or her peers. Parents across cultures are always aware of this fact. They have always been judgmental of their children’s company.
While growing, children consider things such as birth order, sex, and age to select their mates. Collective culture and individualistic cultures differ when it comes to sibling relationships. Collective cultures tend to be more family-oriented. They have shown a significant level of sibling relations and involvement.
Brothers and sisters in communal backgrounds such as the Latinos utilize approximately half of their valuable moments with their peers and relatives as opposed to the American kids who do not utilize as much duration with their relatives. They tend to find more value in spending time with their friends.
Cultures such as Indonesia and Costa Rica value the family unit. Hence, children and teenagers show more security, intimacy, companionship, and satisfaction when they are with their siblings than when they are with their friends. Youths in countries such as the USA find happiness and acceptance from their friends.
Time for most of the USA children is spent in shared activities with friends (Sailor, 2014, Para. 1). Family-oriented societies, also known as collectivistic cultures, enhance more sibling interdependence where the situation of children looking out for each other defines the daily life.
In South Asian communities, children play important responsibilities in the course of their continued existence. Running of home properties, birthright sharing, and important formal procedures are effectively taken care of by brothers and sisters. In idiosyncratic societies, a high significance is given to personal accomplishments.
In collectivist cultures, much significance is attached to participating in cooperative tasks. Besides, much focus is given to what people have in common. Individualistic societies are characterized by participation in competitive duties. Much weight is given to what makes the individuals unique.
Therefore, siblings in collective societies tend to express different traits relative to those in individualistic societies due to the different cultural contexts in which they were brought up (Baer, 2014, Para. 1). Siblings in the collective culture are more sociable because social norms in their society and jobs are interdependent.
Affluence, independence, and variety among siblings are given importance in the individualistic setting. Siblings in the individualistic settings grow to be strong and self-independent (Basu-Zharku, 2011, Para. 3).
Eccentricity exists in Western Europe and a large part of the US while the communal society is evident in Asia and some Europe regions among other places.
Due to the self-independent nature of the individualistic society, children in such a society mature and discover themselves at an early age. Development prevails in the individualistic society because siblings value personal achievement and sovereignty.
Collectivistic societies instill the culture of family cohesion, cooperation, togetherness, and conformity to the set standards. Thus, siblings in these societies give significance to group goals where they follow the laid down procedures and expectations of the society.
Siblings in the individualistic society feel part of the community. Interdependence is the norm here. The idiosyncratic society upholds personal growth and the communication of individual issues.
When the American children who grew in an individualistic society are asked to express themselves or narrate a story that they had been told before, majority of them are specific. They describe the story from a personal experience than Korean or Chinese kids who grew up in a collective society.
Children in the collective society evaluate stories from a positive aspect and discuss other people more than the American children. The mind of children in individualistic societies is more specific. It focuses on individual situations that they have encountered. In addition, they are expressive, lengthy, and detailed.
On the other hand, the mindset of children in a collective society is more general and less emotional (Basu-Zharku, 2011, Para. 4). Their thinking is social relationship-focused. These patterns and differences in mindset and reasoning are seen because western cultures enhance autonomy. They put significance on personal qualities.
Hence, siblings in such cultures are raised to stand out and speak for themselves, whereas eastern cultures improve togetherness and give importance to the group. Siblings here are brought up to focus on the society around them. The cultural differences in siblings across culture persist even into their adult life.
College students in the individualistic society talk about personal preferences and autonomy more than their partners in the collective society. Despite the differences in a relationship due to cultural differences, siblings can integrate more than their culture when exposed to a different environment where they can form a bicultural identity.
Cultural value theory and ethnic equivalence hypothesis explain how differences in familial relationships influence the quality sibling relationships (Padilla-Walker, Harper, & Jensen, 2010, p. 420). Families that have different ethnicity when compared to the main cultures thrive in alternative value systems.
This situation has the implication of encountering similar experiences among specific family contexts to produce deviations in the meaning of certain elements that define sibling relationships among minority families.
For instance, Buist et al. (2014) reckons, “physical discipline was related to higher levels of externalizing behavior for European American adolescents, but to lower levels of externalizing problem behavior for African American adolescents” (p.267).
Ethnic equivalence theory holds that familial relations do not have direct impacts on the outcomes of children since they surpass any ethnic boundary to showcase universality in terms of their influence. This claim implies that no significant differences in sibling relationships are anticipated in cross-cultural contexts.
Culture defines norms, values, and ways of thinking of a given group of people. These aspects may determine the mechanisms for forming relationships between siblings.
Buist et al. (2014) studied sibling relationships in the cross-cultural context by comparing the quality of sibling associations among the Moroccan and Dutch sibling samples (p. 269).
After collecting data through questionnaires and analyzing it, the researchers found a significant difference in the quality of sibling relationships amongst Moroccan and Dutch adolescents.
The Moroccan siblings reported high levels of quality relationships and lower prevalence levels of behavior problems compared to the Dutch adolescents (Buist et al., 2014, p.269). Nevertheless, problems of anxiety and depression among the siblings in both Moroccan and Dutch samples were similar (Buist et al., 2014, p.272).
Different cultures adopt different parenting styles. In the Mexican descent society, Gamble and Yu (2014) claim that democratic parenting support sibling relationships that are characterized by less egoism and high levels of warmth (p.223).
Factors that Influence the Quality of Sibling Relations
Assemblage of families, their structure, and traits of each child influence sibling relationships. Assemblage implies the number of brothers and sisters, birth progression, kids and grownups’ gender and years, the level of interaction (taken up or brother/sister), and kids’ intervals.
Despite the fact that different types of family relationships play a key part in influencing sibling relationships, the quality of parent-children relationship greatly influences sibling relationships. Differences that are peculiar to each child are important in influencing their interaction.
For example, young children have temperament as an important factor that determines their relationships while older children have cognitive, personality, and social skills, which are important determinants of sibling relationships (Murray et al., 2014, p.1363).
Factors that influence the quality of sibling rapport are related to one another. For example, Dixon et al. (2008) studied the relationships between personality and birth order in large families (families with 6 or more siblings) using a sample size of 361 siblings (p. 119).
The researchers focused on Neuroticism, Psychoticism, and extraversion personality traits (Dixon et al., 2008, p.119). Using hierarchical model, the researchers also studied the impacts of age, size of families, and gender on the siblings’ personality.
They identified an age effect on the extraversion personality while the size of families and gender did not produce any significant impacts on any of the studied personality aspects (Dixon et al., 2008, p.119). This observation suggests that age has an effect on the quality of sibling relationships.
As the age increases, it influences the personality of individual siblings. Oh, Volling, and Gonzalez (2015) indicate that the quality of sibling relationships changes with time, as it is emotionally less intense among middle-aged siblings and those in the adolescent stage (p.120).
Although the family environment during the siblings’ childhood may have produced high-quality relationships, they (siblings) experience lower quality relationships at adulthood due to the competing pressures of their work and individual families.
The environment in which siblings are brought up influences the quality of their relationships. The environment can be shared or not shared (Dixon et al., 2008, p.120).
Mutual surroundings such as growing up in the same home produce more similarities in terms of character definition while the non-shared atmosphere is associated with character variations that may be observed among brothers and sisters. Siblings may also fail to share the same environment due to their birth order.
Thus, they undergo different experiences, which influence their personalities differently (Dixon et al., 2008, p.120). Although the birth sequence may affect the quality of interaction in terms of their people’s distinctiveness, there lacks scholarly evidence and agreement on how it exactly influences the personality of individuals.
However, the power difference that is associated with birth order has effects on the quality of sibling relationships.
Firstborns are co-caregivers in many nonwestern societies. Thus, they function as surrogates parents. This situation makes them enjoy high power over other siblings in a family. The power status increases with an increasing age gap between siblings. It also varies depending on gender.
For example, older girls are known in some cultures as better caregivers and teachers to their younger siblings than older boys. Dixon et al. (2008) assert that birth order has effects on the quality of sibling relationships (p.120).
Firstborns feel more threatened by a second born since they have to share their power and parents’ attention and affection with the second and subsequent births. Second and subsequent births may not feel this threat since they find power already vested in the firstborn sibling.
In a cross-sectional study, Whiteman, McHale, and Crouter (2007) studied the influence of older siblings on younger siblings (p. 970). They assessed aspects such as peer competence, interests in sports and arts, and engagement in risky behaviors.
The researchers found a positive correlation between the reported temporary involvement together with intimacy and positive influence for younger siblings (Whiteman et al., 2007, p.963).
Indeed, siblings reported similarities in terms of engagement, interest in the studied domains and high competence when older ones had the power of influence to the younger ones (Whiteman et al., 2007, p.970).
In nonwestern cultures, sibling relationships are characterized by high cooperation. To verify this claim, Song and Volling (2015) examined the relationship between co-parenting, temperament among firstborns, and cooperative behaviors upon request by their mothers to help in changing their one-month-old infant diapers (p. 130).
Questionnaires were given to gather primary data concerning the assessment of parents’ temperament and cooperative behaviors of their children.
Song and Volling (2015) confirm the study results, which “suggested that co-parenting quality moderated the association between children’s temperament (i.e. soothability) and children’s cooperation as revealed in a Temperament ×Cooperative Co-parenting × Undermining Co-parenting interaction” (p.130).
This observation suggests that irrespective of mothers’ demographic characteristics, co-parenting influences the quality of sibling relationships whereby soothability acts as an important determinant of cooperation among siblings.
Positive reception of a subsequent birth by other siblings constitutes an important determinant of the quality of sibling relationships. Volling et al. (2014) assert that mothers report high opposition behaviors among firstborns against their siblings in three weeks after birth (p.634).
This situation causes noncompliance and naughty conducts among firstborns. For mothers, such manners cause a considerable amount of stress. Firstborns who eagerly wait for their siblings’ birth respond in an affectionate manner as a call for caring of the infant sibling few days after birth (Volling et al., 2014, p.634).
This claim suggests that where firstborns receive their second born and subsequent siblings as threats to their power structures with their parents, they (subsequent siblings) are likely to receive them negatively.
This case leads to poor quality sibling relationships at an early age where the family environment does not shape the initial negative perceptions accordingly. Indeed, among adult siblings, the quality of their relationships depends on their childhood familial environment (Dixon et al., 2008, p.120).
Through LPA (latent profile analysis), Volling et al. (2014) studied the reactions of children to their fathers or mothers’ interactions with newborn sibling infants (p. 634). The studied parents reported a high prevalence of behavioral problems among children after one to four months of sibling birth.
A new birth creates an emotion of jealousy in an older sibling (Volling et al., 2014, p. 634). This case creates a rivalry behavior. Nevertheless, having a sibling has positive effects on educational skill attainment.
Downey, Condron, and Yucel (2015) analyzed “11,820 children from the early childhood longitudinal study-kindergarten cohort of 1998-1999” (p.273).
Opposed to their anticipations, the researchers found that children who did not have siblings lagged behind in the attainment of social skills from kindergarten to the fifth grade compared to those who had either brothers or sisters. This observation suggests that siblings influence one other positively in social skill development.
Downey et al. (2015) conclude that the quality of sibling affiliation, which increases social skill attainment, depends on sibling interactions in a family context (p. 273). The quality of such interactions then influences the capacity of siblings to form positive relationships with their peers in other social settings such as schools.
Effects of Successful vs. Unsuccessful Sibling Relations
Successful sibling relationships produce positive effects on the growth and development of children from their childhood through adolescence to adulthood. Indeed, sibling relationships constitute one of the long lasting relationships in an individual’s life (Iturralde, Margolin, & Shapiro, 2013, p.717).
Such interactions also act as the foundation for the formation of other relationships such as a positive affiliation with peers (Downey et al., 2015, p. 274). Therefore, success in inducing positive sibling relationships is important for better sibling interaction with other people in their adolescent and adulthood (Campione-Barr, & Smetana, 2010, p. 464).
Tanrikulu and Campell (2014) investigated the engagement of siblings in bullying behavior (p. 1). The study focused on bullying “in both traditional and cyber form, and the associations of gender, grade, peer bullying perpetration, trait anger, and moral disengagement” (Tanrikulu & Campell, 2014, p.1).
Drawing from 455 participants from grade 5-12, the findings indicated a high percentage of traditional bullying behavior for siblings compared to bullying that was perpetrated by peers.
Despite the low number of intimidators in cyber and other localities, brothers and sisters mentioned unfair treatment and sophisticated deeds in the process of carrying out harassment.
Maltreatment is a negative behavior. It affects people’s creativity levels, reduces morale, may cause accidents, influences negatively moral and ethical judgment capacity, and/or hinders people from realizing their full potential in their areas of talent. Thus, its possession among siblings indicates unsuccessful sibling relations.
Successful sibling associations increase warmth and emotional attachments between children (Buist & Vermande, 2014, p.529). Aggression and victimization are associated with unsuccessful sibling relations.
For example, Tucker, Finkelhor, Turner, and Shattuck (2014) present a growing body of research that indicates how victimization among siblings has direct relationships with poor mental health (p.625). The researchers hypothesize that conflicts between parents and violence in families influence experiences of children in victimization.
Upon conducting a multinomial regression analysis, the results indicate that sibling victimization relates to negative family experiences.
Indeed, children “in the severe group have even less parental warmth, poor parental supervision, and greater exposure to inter-parental conflict and family violence than children in the common types victimizations group” (Tucker et al., 2014, p. 625).
This observation implies that parent–children relationships are important not only for successful development of sibling relations, but also for mitigation of sibling engagement in family conflicts (Recchia & Howe, 2008, p. 1564).
However, although negative conflicts among siblings may indicate unsuccessful sibling relations, positive conflicts are important as the basis of developing respect and trust among siblings.
Unsuccessful sibling relationships have negative implications for psychological health. Tucker et al. (2014) assert that sibling victimization may involve physical assault, which leads to injury (p.626). Such injuries produce negative psychological effects on the victim. The situation may lead to rivalry and lower warmth between siblings.
Although psychology scholars contend that aggression is normal among siblings, aggression that leads to victimization indicates unsuccessful sibling relationships. Iturralde et al. (2013) identify moderating effects of successful sibling relationships in adjusting to inter-parental conflicts (p. 716).
Therefore, successful sibling relations help to reduce the threshold of negative effects of inter-parental conflicts.
How to Influence Closeness in Sibling Relations
Upon identifying various risk factors to poor sibling relationships, programs can be designed to enhance more interactions between siblings and other persons such as parents who are decisive in enhancing their relationships.
Feinberg, Sakuma, Hostetler, and McHale (2013) assert that most people in the US are more likely to have siblings as opposed to a father (p.97). In the European-American context, the authors also reckon that children’s most time is spent in the company of siblings as opposed to any other person.
In the minority groups, siblings play the role of companionship and care giving (Feinberg et al., 2013, p.97). Therefore, it is important to ensure sibling closeness as a strategy that guarantees positive interactions.
Feinberg et al. (2013) present SAS (Siblings Are Special) program for preventing adolescence-related behavioral problems, which may decrease sibling closeness by impairing the quality of their relationships (p. 98).
Analysis of the program reveals that SAS model is important in increasing sibling engagements. Sibling interactions form the basic tenets for developing relationship skills.
Building positive relationships is impossible without a compromise. Indeed, Feinberg et al. (2013) assert that sibling relations are built on frequent and high conflict levels compared to any other close relationship in people’s lives (p.98). Aggressive behavior is also common among siblings.
Therefore, closeness between siblings can be increased by encouraging constructive conflicts to help in establishing avenues for building trust among them. In this process, attention should be focused on reducing antagonism, quests for domineering other siblings, and negative criticism (Lindell, Campione-Barr, & Greer, 2014, p.80).
Specifically, parents have major responsibilities to ensure fairness and equality amongst siblings to minimize power struggles.
Siblings exchange their emotions in an environment of love, engagement in conflicts, and support. Although aggression among siblings has been considered an acceptable phenomenon, it potentially influences childhood and adolescent adjustments (p.2).
The researcher finds proactive aggressive behavior among siblings, increased use of substances, and high depressive moods as important risk factors for child delinquency.
These relationships persist even after the researchers make adjustments to various family differences, stress, and even social-graphic variations (Tucker et al., 2014, p.1). Therefore, minimization of proactive aggression among siblings can aid in increasing their closeness.
Oh et al. (2015) studied the longitudinal trajectories in behaviors of young children towards their infants in the context of avoidance, antagonism, and positive engagement (p. 126). 50% of all the studied children were well engaged.
Such children portrayed outstanding levels of engagement with their siblings’ infants who were characterized by little incidents of avoidance and antagonism (Oh et al., 2015, p.126).
This claim suggests that reducing antagonism and avoidance behaviors towards infants by other siblings through enhancing positive engagement can help to increase closeness among siblings.
For adolescents who are transiting to colleges, Lindell, Campione-Barr, and Greer (2014) reckons, “frequent or intense sibling conflicts during adolescence may be related to more positive and less negative sibling relationships the first year after older siblings leave home” (p.79).
Therefore, putting in place strategies for ensuring continued positive relationships between the first and second born as the firstborn transits into college is important for the sustenance of close sibling relationships in the future years, including adulthood.
Such strategies entail maintaining adequate egalitarian relationship during childhood and reducing sibling conflicts both in childhood and adolescence (Lindell et al., 2014, p.80).
Research on various normative issues that influence sibling relations at adulthood identifies childhood environment as an important issue that determines the quality of the relationship. Siblings who grow up in families that have cohesive ties exhibit closer relationships.
Psychological factors such as emotional attention between siblings and warmth affect the element of closeness among siblings. Proactive aggression and negative conflicts have the effect of lowering the quality of sibling relationships.
Thus, to create closeness among siblings, parents need to provide an enabling environment for facilitating their close interactions by eliminating risk factors that allow the growth of conflicts, which may lead to the emergence of aggressive behaviors among siblings.
Although sibling relationships are characterized by conflicts, aggression, positive emotional attraction, and warmth, mitigation of proactive aggression is important upon considering that it leads to physical assault and victimization. This situation can lead to psychological damages, which induce hatred among siblings.
Hatred is a major impediment to the formation of quality sibling relationships. Children possess the strongest affection linkages at childhood followed by adolescence. The quality is poorest at adulthood.
This situation may occur following the separation of people as they seek to meet demands from the work environments and/or in their respective families.
This study establishes issues that parents should focus on in their parenting roles to ensure that siblings develop and maintain positive relationships from childhood to adolescence and even in adulthood.
The study emphasizes that parents should note that although issues that influence the quality of sibling relationships such as their separation when they attend colleges or relocation in search of jobs are inevitable, they have the capacity to create and control the environment for developing and sustaining their positive relationship.
They need to mitigate factors that lead to poor quality sibling relationships.
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