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A Sibling Relationship

"Children are the essence of the family life but can become the driving destructive force that splits or divides them up” (Dr Barbara Wallace, 1995).

Recently it has been realised that siblings have an enormous impact on one another not just through early childhood but long into the lifespan. Previously it was thought that parents were the main influence in early childhood changing to peers for early adulthood and old age, only now has the full impact of siblings influences been realised.

The sibling relationship is usually one of the longest relationships an individual will experience through a whole lifetime, this is apparent even through half or step siblings (Cicirelli, 1995). A sibling relationship is ascribed, Siblings cant choose each other and because of this fights, disagreements and arguments can normally be overcome where friendships may not be overcome, which relates back to the folk saying "you cant choose your family”. Sibling relationships overcome most blocks that destroy other relationships when presented with the same blocks. Blocks such as age, size, intelligence social skills, achievements and so on would generally halt most relationships before they even get a chance to start, but siblings with most or all of these differences still manage to relate on an equal level. Siblings also have a common history of shared and non-shared experiences again strengthening the bond between them.

Bill Cosby once said, "You aren't really a parent until you've had your second child." Parents of one child won't really understand this. Parents of two or more children will relate to this statement immediately. He was referring to the seemingly constant bickering and fighting between brothers and sisters.

Adler (1959) believes that birth order is the most important factor in sibling relationships. His theory was accompanied by empirical literature on birth order and sibling structure effects on siblings' intellectual a...

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