Sibling Stereotypes

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Friday, November 12th, 2021 - 29 minutes

Today Dr Rebecca Weber - child psychologist based in Geneva - looks at siblings; the oldest, longest-standing relationship that anyone is likely to have. 

We talk a look at the stereotypes of first, last and middle children of the family, as well as only children, and whether there is any truth in those stereotypes. We also look at this on a practical level, in terms of what it may mean to understanding your child's needs, depending on a variety of different family dynamics. 


00:00 - 06:30 We dive in to looking at an overview of what some of those stereotypes may be, and how a parent's own experience and childhood family dynamics can affect their children. How can a parent identify the blind spots they may have? How does sibling rivalry play a part? 

06:30 - 11:20 Although we might have an idea of a perfect family, with an ideal number of years in mind between children, life doesn't always agree. Unplanned pregnancies, fertility, or adoption administration might be just some ways in which spacing siblings out doesn't quite always go to plan. However, is there such a thing as an "ideal spacing" and what effect might a larger or smaller age-gap between siblings have on children? 

11:20 - 19:45 Dr Weber explains how children coming into the same family can have completely different experiences of that family, depending on where they fall in terms of birth order. We look at nature vs nurture and talk more in depth about those actual stereotypes. For example, is the firstborn more of a worrier, or a perfectionist? Do they display leadership qualities, perhaps harnessed by looking out for their younger siblings. What about the youngest children? Are they the rule breakers? Or perhaps they're the funniest in the family? Given their role in the family, those middle children are often strong negotiators. Can there really be truth in these stereotypes?

19:45 - 28:25 We look at some typical traits of the only child, before closing on what all of this really means. Practically, understanding some of these tendencies can help us identify behaviours and understand children better, so how can parents better support their children depending on how they fall in the birth order. 

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