For most people, their siblings will be the longest-lasting relationships of their lives, potentially enduring all the way from birth until past the death of their parents.
Marked by both jealousy and conflict and love and loyalty, siblings are also some of our most complicated relationships. While a little over half of people describe their relationships with their siblings as positive, about one-fifth classify them as negative, and a quarter say their feelings about their siblings are decidedly mixed.
Here to take us on a tour of the complex landscape of sibling-dom is Geoffrey Greif, a professor of social work and the co-author of the book Adult Sibling Relationships . Today on the show, Geoffrey shares how our brothers and sisters shape us and how our relationship with our siblings changes as we move from childhood to old age. We discuss how the perception of parental favoritism affects the closeness of siblings and how a parent's relationship with their own siblings affects the relationship between their children. Geoffrey explains how most sibling relationships are marked by the three A's — affection, ambiguity, and/or ambivalence — and how the relationship can also become very distant or outright severed. We end our conversation with Geoffrey's advice on developing a good relationship between your children and reconnecting with your own siblings.Resources Related to the Episode
- Geoffrey's previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #360 — Understanding Male Friendships
- AoM Article: Forging the Bond Between Brothers
- Study: "How Experiences with Siblings Relate to the Parenting of Siblings"
- Study: "Differential Effects of Perceptions of Mothers' and Fathers' Favoritism on Sibling Tension in Adulthood"