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Effects of Birth Order on Sibling Relationships

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Effects of Birth Order on Sibling Relationships

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  • May 2, 2006
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Effects of Birth Order on Sibling Relationships
Much research has been done and importance placed on birth order and the quality of the sibling relationships they form. The order of birth in relation to other siblings is a key factor in the quality of the relationship between siblings. If the same parents raise both brothers and sisters then, how do they seem to end up so different? Although there are many factors that can affect sibling relationships, age spacing, gender dyad, and parental influence generally have a profound effect on the sibling relationship through birth order. Of the many factors that may affect the relationship between siblings, their ages, or space between each child in years is one of the biggest. Age spacing may also determine common experiences and interests giving them something to share. During a study on the effects of birth order, Allison Lauretti discovered that when there is a significant age difference the occurrence of power issues are greater. Each child tries to be the dominant child in the family so naturally there is a large degree of conflict, as they grow older. First-borns tend to show more authority during dealings with younger siblings. Jealousy happens most with the first-born child. This is because he or she is used to getting all the attention of being that only child (Lauretti). But envy can also form when a child feels undervalued by the parent because of evident increased closeness with another sibling (Saft A1). And in turn, the younger child may be bitter because of the older child's advantages of being older. This can form unique bonds between the two because of the oldest need to look after and teach the youngest and the youngest need to reach the standards set by the oldest.

Dr. Kevin Leman states that the oldest sibling tends to be serious, goal-oriented, conscientious, well organized, believers in authority, reliable perfectionists and self-reliant (119-131). Dr. Leman's...