Today is Siblings Day. It was created to honor the special relationships that we have with our siblings. Often our oldest friends, siblings share our ties to our past, and special bonds that last forever.
I grew up as one of four sisters, each two years apart. My sisters are my best friends and my greatest confidantes. I’m number two, so number three and I used to joke that we were the double filling inside an Oreo.
Birth order is a fascinating subject and many studies have been conducted as to how the birth order of siblings effects the adults that we become.
In times gone by, were families so much bigger than today?
My grandmother was one of eight and my grandfather one of seven. Many of my ancestors also came from large families. I used to wonder whether people tended to have bigger families.
According to UK statistics, the 1900 birth rate was 3.5 children per family; by the end of the century (1997), the rate fell to 1.7 children.
Why do you think people had larger families back then?
What about your family? How many siblings did your grandparents have?
Let us know in the poll below.
The term "sibling rivalry" was coined by David Levy in 1937 in relation to the common aggressive response of an older sibling to a new baby in the family. It is also used to describe competition or antagonism between children of the same parents.
It has various causes. Freud thought it was connected to the Oedipus complex whereby sibling brothers would compete for their mother's love, or between sisters for their father's attention.
Kyla Boyse from the University of Michigan suggests it stems from a child's need to define himself or herself as an individual and to separate from a sibling.
Alfred Adler proposes that sibling rivalry is based on siblings "striving for significance" within their family.
Most psychologists believe that it stems from an innate desire to attain parental attention achieved through competing with the sibling.
Whatever the cause, the manifestation can be ugly.