Title: Siblings: Love, Envy, and Understanding
Authors: Judy Dunn and Carol Kendrick
Publication Year: 1982
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Review: I read two chapters, skimmed another, then pretty much quit reading this book. It’s more of an academic book about a particular study than a parenting book. I can see how this study and the information contained might be of interest to someone who had a job specifically studying sibling relationships, but in my opinion, the whole idea behind the study is not very convincing.
The study contained only 40 firstborn children who were analyzed in a very casual way by just the two authors. Statistically, given the varying ages and situations, I’m not sure any conclusions can really be made. It’s fair to present the results, but I don’t think qualitatively that the authors will be able to say anything that isn’t fairly obvious and expected (i.e. some kids regressed in their toilet training, some became more defiant, etc.)
The kids varied in age to begin with (most of them being in the vicinity of their second birthday when the second child was born), but I’m not sure how one can even make a justifiable argument about which behaviors were due to the birth of the sibling and which were just a result of getting older. There would need to be a control group of only children who did not acquire a sibling to compare with this sample to truly know what effect the sibling had (and the sample size would have to be much, much larger to be believable, in my opinion, given the normal variation in children).
I can’t fairly evaluate this book given that I didn’t read all of it, but based on what I did read, it seemed like finishing it would not have been a productive use of my time. (Personal Rating: 4/10)