Saturday, April 10, 2010

When Big Brothers Bully

Highly critical parents and older siblings can have a negative effect on the self-esteem on the younger children in the family.
By Megan Olden, published on May 01, 2003 - last reviewed on April 10, 2007

Sibling animosity may be a universal truth, but that doesn't mean it is well understood. In a first attempt to link behavioral problems in early adulthood to the relationship with a brother or sister, researchers found that boys with older siblings who were critical of them were more likely to be arrested or to abuse drugs and alcohol.

In the study, 20-year-old boys with older siblings who had negative attitudes toward them were also more likely to associate with deviant peers and have sexual intercourse at a younger age than were boys with noncritical siblings. They exhibited the same antisocial behavior two years later.

The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology (2003), required 73 men and women to describe their relationship with a younger brother. These findings do not imply that criticism causes deviance: Indeed, the siblings could have been highly critical because their brothers' behavior was problematic. But they do illustrate the potentially harmful impact of sibling interaction, says Bernadette Bullock, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University of Oregon's Child and Family Center and co-author of the study."Sibling influence is part of an ongoing multidirectional dynamic," says Bullock. The relationship is in turn influenced by parental attitudes and each child's temperament.

Jeanne Safer, Ph.D., a psychoanalyst and author of The Normal One: Life With a Difficult or Damaged Sibling, agrees: "How siblings relate to one another very often has to do with how the parents see the siblings and create the relationship between them."

Researchers including Bullock are now exploring the associations between parental and sibling attitudes, including the possibility of a contagion effect, in which the opinions of one family member affect the perceptions of others in the home.

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  1. siblings at home do always have connection within each other because they are siblings and they have same genetic makeup..why older brother or sister tends to have influence in younger siblings?this is because younger siblings tend to imitate and learn the behavior from their older sibling..besides, if an older sibling tends to involve in antisocial behavior, one of the causes may be from genetics from their parents..thus, from this, we can see that younger sibling tends to commit into antisocial behavior may be due to genetics factor..therefore, i think that parents do play the main and major role in educate their children especially the older siblings to ensure that older siblings do not involve in antisocial behavior which will likely leads their younger siblings to imitate their bad behavior..

    commented by Koi Kye Wen, T3

  2. chan siew nee, t1April 14, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    thanks for your sharing..:)
    i never think that the siblings treatment could be also one of the factors that may lead the person to behave more negatively..but i could understand that too..for my understanding is,as the family is the first place where they learning to interact with people..and family members is the person who is so close to them..but if their siblings don't treat them well, they feel like not being support in the psychological may be this is one of the reason they behave more aggressive? as angry sometimes is the place where the heart feel hurt..hope that after more people have awareness on this could try to improve their relationship with family :)