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chapter 13 reading &lecture note

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Lingqin Feng

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Chapter 13: Sibling Relationships and Situations
Key aspect of chapter: The combined effect of the environment, including the
familial one, and of genetic inheritance in the development of siblings life
At least 80% of Canadians have at least one sibling. And it usually outlasts
the parent-child relationship.
When children reach adulthood in Western Cultures the sibling relationship
continuing becomes optional. (other cultures arent)
The Sibling Relationship Begins
Each child enters the family at a difference moment in its history and
contributes to changing this environment.
The only child becomes the older child
parents spend more time interacting with their children altogether but
they have less time for each child individual + economic resources
available per person diminish.
oMoney + time diminish
The arrival of a second baby generally means that the older child has a
lower chance of experiencing a parental divorce. (the reason can be that
happier couples are already more likely to have another baby…)
Parents give more attention to younger than older children.
Result the first-born child occasionally suffers from a variety of
problems of adjustment, including anxiety, clinging behavior, bed-wetting
and even aggressiveness.
Additional infants benefit from the experience that parents have acquired
with their earlier-born children. (first to test the waters)
Consquences of Childrens Spacing
With four years or more of spacing between the 2 children, the parents
relationship with the first born may continue to be exclusive during a
portion of the day as the baby sleeps. (little competition)

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In terms of educational achievement, children do less well, on average,
when they are closely spaces. (less individual time if siblings are close in
age follow the same routine) (younger child benefits from having a older
more developed sibling and parents with more time)
Consequences of Family Size
Large sibling groups generally do not do as well at school, on average,
as children from small families. (neither do they do better professionally as
The concept uses to explain this family size effect is the DILUTION
oThis means that parents have fewer nonexpendable resources for each
child individually (time, attention, economic etc)
NEGATIVE: Larger families learn less + aggressiveness appears. Lack of
group + lack of privacy.
But of course there are exceptions to this rule there is no effect on larger
families to Muslim Arabs (as extended family/hamula supports the nuclear
Advantages to a large family:
oSiblings are more affiliative, more affectionate, good leaders, less prone
to depression or otherwise healthier. They may be less individualist
and more cooperative. (better at sharing)
Child and Adolescent Sibling Relationships
Munn and Dunn (1988) report that brothers and sisters hose
personalities are compatible or complementary experience a more harmonious
relationship that those who are temperamentally incompatible.
Older and Younger Siblings
Found that it was the older childs personality that more strongly affected the
distribution of power in the relationship.
Agreeability in the older child is a predictors of harmony.

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Found that older siblings tend to be fairly consistent over time in their
behavior toward their younger brother or sister: Aggressiveness or
friendlessness persists.
Younger siblings show less stability of behavior toward their older siblings
then the older ones do toward them.
Younger ones are forced to be more compliant in the relationship.
The older child has a stronger effect on the younger one than vice versa.
Gender and Class in the Sibling Relationship
12/13 year old first-born boys reported a more distant relationship with their
younger siblings than did first-born girls.
Females begin at an early age their function of KIN-KEEPERS.
A social class difference: older children of higher-income families reported
more warmth and closeness with their siblings than the older children of
Sibling Influence.
McHale and Crouter (1996) report that preteens spend 33 % of their out-of-
school hours with siblings compared to 13 % with friends. These numbers
alone should predict a great deal of sibling influence.
Older siblings as Role Models
-If one is positive or aggressive the other one follows the trend.
-Siblings are important agents of socialization.
-If one child abuses alcohol, the other one is at risk of doing so too.
-In terms of sexuality, Widmer (1997) reports that older siblings have
an effect of the timing of first intercourse among their younger
brothers and sisters.
-Older siblings treatment of the younger one serves as an incentive to
adopt the interactional style in other relationships.
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