Siblings Relationship Essay

3366 words - 13 pages

Since the emergence of developmental psychology, theorists and researchers have stressed the family's role in shaping the child's emergent social style, personality, and cognitive competence. Psychologists in doing so adopted an "idiosyncratic definition of family" (Lamb & Sutton-Smith, 1982) where the focus is on the parents and mostly the mothers. It took time to realize that most families contain two parents and at least two children. Along with this realization it was seen that children develop in a context of different networks of social relationships within which each person may affect every other directly (through their interactions) and indirectly (through A's effect on B, who then influences C) (Lamb & Sutton-Smith, 1982).A social network like the family is embedded in a broader network of relations with relatives, neighbors and social institutions. Within the family, relationships among siblings hasn't received much attention until not so long ago. The relationship between siblings is one that is characterized by distinctive emotion and intimacy from infancy onwards. This relationship offers children unique opportunity for learning about self and other, and it is one that has potential for affecting children 's well-being, intimately associated as it is to the relationship each child has with the parent (Boer & Dunn, 1992).Furthermore, the relationship between brothers and sisters are infinitely varied. Their love or hate, their envy or compassion, their closeness or rivalry are formed in childhood. These bonds last throughout life and at the same time, create character and inform behavior in a multitude of situations (Bank & Kahn, 1982; Brooks, 1999). This brings me to the following issues I will address. First, what evidence is present for thecontinuation of the sibling relationship across the lifespan and for sibling influence from childhood to adulthood? Secondly, I will discuss how attachment theory can be extended to siblings. Before doing so, it is important to give an overview of the course of the sibling relationship over the lifespan.It is recognized that siblings influence a child's early development. Depending on the sibling structure of the family an infant may be treated differently by parents and others. For instance a first -born boy may receive qualitatively different parenting from a later born girl, and so forth. The infant eventually becomes old enough to start interacting directly with any siblings already born into the family (Bank & Kahn, 1982 (Lamb & Sutton-Smith, 1982). The young child, through the preschool years is likely to share most waking hours with whatever brothers and sisters there may be. The younger child may imitate behavior patterns of an older sibling and a sibling may also dictate play activities. A combination of differential parental treatment and interactions with siblings, gradually shape the child's intellectual and personality characteristics (Hodges, 1986).During...

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