Parents can keep siblings from fighting

Hair-pulling, pinching, and name-calling between brothers and sisters may occasionally seem to be an inescapable part of family life. But professors at Arizona State University, the University of New Hampshire, and Penn State University recently found that parents have more impact on relations between their teenage children than previously thought.

According to the study, which interviewed 185 white, working- and middle-class families with teenage children, the best indicator of a good sibling relationship is the amount of time parents spend with their kids.

The researchers also looked at different ways parents intervene in sibling conflicts. Those who punish their children for fighting or use other authoritarian tactics seem to exacerbate sibling relations. On the other hand, letting siblings work things out for themselves seems to foster closer ties.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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