Abstract The current study was created to determine how much of an effect did parental treatment have on the level of competition there was between siblings. According to attachment theory, children’s development is highly influenced by the treatment they receive from their parents. And according to social comparison theory, children often compare the way they are treated by their parents to the way their siblings are treated by their parents. I believe that because children compare themselves to their siblings, the type of attachment style children have with their parents is a determining factor of how much competition they will engage in with their siblings. In this research I will conduct a study in which participants give a self-report of which attachment style their parents used and what level of competition they engaged in with their siblings.
Keywords: competition, attachment theory, social comparison theory, sibling, parents, attachment style
Sibling Rivalry: Does Parental Treatment influence Competition between Siblings? Sibling rivalry is present in households all across the world and has been a problem for thousands of years, even since the beginning of time. In the bible there is a story of the two sons of Adam, Cain and Abel, that gives an account of the first ever sibling rivalry and the consequences it brought about. Both Cain and Abel went forth to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. Cain offered some of his fruit from the ground, and Able offered the first and fattest of his sheep. The Lord accepted Able’s offering and did not accept Cain’s, which later led Cain to kill his brother because of his anger and jealously. This is definitely an example of what sibling rivalry can cause to happen in an extreme circumstance. But even in every day normal circumstances, competition amongst siblings can have negative consequences. Many clinicians and developmental psychologists all across the world and from past to present agree that the sibling bond is complicated and is caused by many different factors (Leder, 1993). There are no two sibling relationships that are exactly the same and although most of these relationships are healthy, there are some relationships that result in violence, conflict, hostility, and verbal aggression (Van Volkom, Machiz, & Reich, 2011). There are studies that have been conducted and that reveal out of the three different sibling pairs, sister to sister, brother to sister, and brother to brother, the sister to sister pairs are the closest and the brother to brother pairs are the most competitive. In fact, twin brothers tend to be the most competitive compared to any other siblings (Leder, 1993). We all get to voluntarily pick who we want to be friends with but when it comes to the relationship we have with our siblings, it is more forced because we have absolutely no choice when it comes down to who our brothers and sisters are. Are the parents at fault for causing their children to become so competitive with each other? In individualistic cultures it is the norm for parents to treat their children equally, however, both parents and kids report that it is common for parents to show differential treatment (Chun Bun, Solmeyer, & McHale, 2012). It has also been shown that within species who have intricate parental care, siblings tend to display very intense competition for those resources the parents are providing (Smiseth, Lennox, & Moore, 2007). In my research I plan to determine whether the sort of treatment each child receives from their parent or parents has any effect on sibling rivalry. In particularly how much of an impact does differential parental treatment have on whether or not siblings become competitive with one another? There has been research conducted that shows when parents show different affection towards siblings the impact is