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Siblings and Sibling Relationships - Individual Siblings' Temperaments

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 7Siblings and Sibling Relationships - Individual Siblings' Temperaments, Skills That Siblings Learn From One Another, Parents' Guidance And Sibling Conflict

Individual Siblings' Temperaments

Personal characteristics of the children involved in a sibling relationship are important in determining the kind of relationship that they will have. One of the most thoroughly studied characteristics is temperament, which is defined as the style of behavior that a person uses when relating to other people or to the surrounding environment. It develops early in life, is at least partly determined by a person's genetic makeup, and remains essentially the same across the lifespan. Although siblings share a considerable part of their genetic makeup, children in the same family can have quite different temperaments. Some children are calm and easygoing, whereas others are impatient and easily upset. Not surprisingly, easygoing children experience less conflict in their sibling relationships than impatient children do. When one sibling is easygoing and another is impatient, the kind of relationship that they have depends on which sibling has the easygoing temperament. Sibling relationships run more smoothly when the easygoing sibling is older than the impatient one, because older children usually take charge of the situation when they are with their younger siblings.

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