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1 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Close siblings can ease the pain of family conflict

Close siblings can ease the pain of family conflict

Good relationships between siblings can help them cope with conflicts between their parents, a new study finds. The research included 236 families with a mother, father and at least two children who weren't twins. The children were between ages 12 and 14, and most of the families were white and middle-class.

"Most children not only grow up with a sibling, but spend more time interacting with siblings than with any other family member," said study leader Patrick Davies, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in New York.

Children in the study observed their parents discussing topics of disagreement, and they reported on their distressed responses then, and one year later. Researchers found that teens who had good relationships with their siblings had less distressed responses, though they only found an association, rather than a cause-and-effect link.

The study was published recently in the journal Child Development.

"We showed that having a good relationship with a brother or sister reduced heightened vulnerability for youth exposed to conflicts between their parents by decreasing their tendencies to experience distress in response to later disagreements between their parents," Davies explained in a journal news release.

The researchers noted that because most of the families in the study were white and middle-class, the findings may not apply to families of other races or levels of wealth.

Still, "relationships with siblings protected teens whether we defined a good bond as one that included warmth and problem-solving skills or one that had low levels of destructive conflict or disengagement," said study co-author Meredith Martin, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"Strengthening sibling relationships may not only directly foster children's psychological adjustment, but also offer new approaches to counteracting the risks associated with experiencing hostility and unresolved conflicts between parents," she said.

Do your children have a good sibling relationship? Or are they more likely to fight than enjoy each other’s company?

Whatever siblings’ age differences, personality traits or gender, the fact is that the quality of their sibling bonds can matter a great deal. Research has shown that sibling relationships often play a major role in how we will interact in other relationships with friends, romantic partners, and others later in life.

Parents can play a key role in helping nurture a good sibling relationship and reduce sibling rivalry and conflict. By encouraging activities that foster teamwork, setting kids up to have fun together, and giving kids the tools to work out conflicts in a constructive and respectful manner, parents can help siblings develop a good relationship that will carry them through the rest of their lives.

Do not compare your children to each other. First and foremost, try not to say things like, “Why can’t you listen as well as your brother does?” or “Your sister doesn’t talk back to me.” Comparing your children to each other is a sure-fire way to stoke the fires of sibling rivalry and build resentment.

Try to figure out what’s behind the sibling conflicts. Do your kids tend to squabble when one is trying to get the other’s attention? Are they competing for your time and attention? Do they fight more when they are tired or bored? Once you see a pattern that might explain this behavior, try to address those issues to minimize sibling squabbles. For instance, you can try spending one-on-one time with each child or try to help your child find better, non-antagonizing ways to get a sibling’s attention.

HealthDay

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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