siblings

How having children gave me a new perspective on sibling-relationships

I don’t think it was until I had children that I fully began to understand the extent of what I had missed out, both good and bad, on being brought up an only child. Watching my children play, argue, compete as well as ignore each other, I began to get a flavour of what it would be like to have a sibling. I could see having another child around had its own challenges and I also became very aware how children with sibling/s inevitably fight for attention from a parent. However I also realised that whilst they did not always get on at least there was always someone of a close enough age to be alongside with. Okay, this could lead to conflict but on the whole I found they enjoyed each other’s company and relished the times they played together. When conflict did emerge they did not shy away from it like I would have done  - they battled it out, shouting at each other, slamming doors and sometimes trying to make me [...]

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The Best Reasons for Having More Than One Child

Here is an article by April Peveteaux September 2011 who is reviewing a new book on the importance of siblings which talks about similar things that my research raised. April Peveteaux It turns out my rah-rahing for having a second baby is actually backed up by science. Who knew? Well now we all do thanks to this new book The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger, and his interview on Salon. Kluger tell us that yes, siblings really do matter. And if you have one, you should take full advantage of that relationship, because it’s the only one you’ll have for your entire life. Kluger acknowledges that not everyone has an awesome relationship with their brothers and sisters, but after he shows why it’s so important, he encourages us all to pick up the phone and foster closeness with the sibs. Something we should also try and do with our own [...]

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Only Child Stigma – how do we compensate?

This is an interesting email which demonstrates that even we are aware of the stigma of being an only child and do everything to compensate for those ‘narcissistic’ tendencies which we all apparently have!  – Its hard to break people’s perception or expectations however hard we try…… Hi there Bernice. I was really impressed with the only child site. I am a 24 year old only who grew up with a single mother diagnosed with manic depression. I have a half brother, and moved home when I was 17 now I’m about to graduate from an art degree. I have been through complete hell with my apparent  ’narcissism’  and I feel that this has been the perception that many have of me – despite running marathons and partaking in all kinds of crazy events for charity, working on a help line, being a carer and supporting myself and while being extremely [...]

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So how do siblings affect the family dynamic?

  Articles in various newspapers last autumn announced that recent research has suggested that only children are happier than those with siblings. Gundi Knies, from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, analysed the ‘Understanding Society’ data and concluded that the findings indicated ‘the fewer siblings children have, the happier they are.’ However it became clear from the rest of the article that in many cases this was based on families with large numbers of sibling children and families where a great deal of bullying took place. (You can read these reports in Articles) Can sibling relationships be beneficial or detrimental to the children concerned? Research in this area suggests that siblings are an important source for learning social and emotional skills. Socialization is seen to occur largely in the home through interaction with parents and siblings. Acceptable social roles are learned along with acceptable [...]

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Why do you blame all your problems on not having siblings?

Here is the sort of email I often receive which shows how angry people with siblings can be and as you will see it is a lot to do with envy. Envy of the close relationship some onlies have with their parents and envy of the material benefits. Compounded by the fact that of course not everyone gets on with their siblings!! I can’t believe you feel having no brothers or sisters is the root of all onlies’ problems. What about all the miserable people out their WITH siblings?  What do they blame THEIR childhood/adult issues on? I have a sister and I always envied my cousins who were onlies, and I had quite a few of them. They always had nicer things, seemed closer with their parents, grew up and are doing well and are definitely not “alone in the world” as they are married with kids of their [...]

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