Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Family Favorite? Parents And Siblings See Imbalances In Parents' Attention Differently

Date:
May 23, 2007
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
When parents treat their children differently, siblings and parents often have very different ideas about what's happening and why, according to a new stud. And there can be as many points of view as there are family members.

When parents treat their children differently, siblings and parents often have very different ideas about what's happening and why, says a University of Illinois study. And there can be as many points of view as there are family members.

"You'd think it would be clear when a child is receiving more positive or negative attention, and why that might be happening, but families don't seem to talk much about these differences unless someone complains," said Laurie Kramer, a U of I professor of applied family studies.

The study, conducted with Amanda K. Kowal and Jennifer L. Krull of the University of Missouri, included 74 two-parent, middle-class families with one child between the ages of 11 and 13 and a teen sibling who was two to four years older. Parents and siblings were interviewed individually about family interaction.

Even when children reported that they and their siblings were treated differently, they often didn't agree about exactly how or why they were being treated differently, Kramer said. One thing, however, was clear: siblings got along better if they had a shared understanding of why parents treated them differently and believed the treatment was fair.

"That means it's important for families to talk about these issues, and for mothers and fathers to really listen to what their kids are telling them about how their actions are affecting them," said Kramer.

An earlier study by the researchers showed that siblings understand when differences in treatment occur if there's a good reason for it. "For example, if a child is having trouble in school, parents may spend extra time with that child helping with homework and encouraging him. A brother or sister can usually understand that even if it means that they get less parental attention," Kramer said.

Parents can often squelch feelings of disadvantaged treatment by simply explaining the motivation behind their actions, she said. "Say, for example, 'I bought Joe a car when he was 17 because he was working after school and needed transportation. I didn't get one for you at this point because you're working downtown and don't even have a place to park a car."

"If that goes unsaid, the child who doesn't get a car at 17 may make assumptions that just aren't valid. Many families have limited financial resources or other good reasons for making such decisions. It's usually not 'Mom likes you best,'" Kramer said.

Kramer said that differential treatment performed by mothers may have a greater impact on teens' sibling relationships than fathers' differential treatment. "Children tend to closely monitor the ways in which mothers treat them and their siblings differently, and when they feel they have been unfairly treated, they may react with greater dissatisfaction than when fathers treat kids differently," she said.

The study appeared in a recent issue of Social Development. Funding was provided by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Family Favorite? Parents And Siblings See Imbalances In Parents' Attention Differently." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070521140859.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2007, May 23). Family Favorite? Parents And Siblings See Imbalances In Parents' Attention Differently. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070521140859.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Family Favorite? Parents And Siblings See Imbalances In Parents' Attention Differently." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070521140859.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins