Most people have a sibling,
in fact, children in the U.S. today are more likely to grow up
事实上 今天美国的孩子 可能更多是在兄弟姐妹
with a brother or sister than with a father.
Now, while a lot of social scientists research
the impact of schools and parenting,
little attention is given to a relationship that might be even more consequential.
So what do we know about siblings, birth order,
那么 我们对兄弟姐妹 他们的出生顺序有哪些了解？
and why children from one family grow up to have very different personalities?
Let’s start with our analysis of the tragic story
of the two most famous brothers in Western history.
Once upon a time there was a boy named Cain
who received all the love and attention from both of his parents.
Growing up, the boy knew only one world
and he himself was at its center.
Everyone around him cared only for him and nothing else.
All that changed when his mother gave birth to Abel.
Cain should have understood that his parents’ attention
now had to be divided between him and his brother.
This was a revelation he wasn’t able to accept
and he became increasingly jealous
and sometimes even violent against his little brother.
Cain, as the first born, naturally looked up to his father as his role model.
该隐 作为长子 自然将父亲视为榜样
Following convention, the father himself raised the boy with certain expectations.
按照惯例 父亲也寄予他一定的厚望 来培养他
It was therefore especially painful for Cain
to see that his father now cared so much for his younger brother.
Abel, naturally, looked up to his brother for guidance.
亚伯 自然地仰望着哥哥 听从他的指挥
Things were not easy for him either,
but unlike Cain, Abel knew no different.
As the boys grew up, Cain gained a strong sense of responsibility
and following tradition took over the family farm.
Abel, who was free from any obligation,
chose to become a shepherd.
Cain envied his younger brother’s autonomy,
because life as a farmer became increasingly difficult.
And on the day the brothers were to make a gift to their father,
Cain only brought a few bundles of dry grass.
Abel, who did well for himself, brought an entire lamb.
When the father thanked Abel for his generosity, Cain felt a deep shame.
Overnight his shame turned to hatred of monstrous proportions
and the next day he killed his own brother.
The first big contribution to the field of sibling research
came from the Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler,
and his theory of individual psychology.
Adler believed that the main motive of human behavior
is our desire for power,
partly in compensation for our feeling of inferiority.
Hence, sibling dynamics play a central role in family life
因此 我们成长中 兄弟姐妹间的动态
and personality development as we grow up.
Adler argued that children who grow up in the same family
experience the family differently.
In particular, sibling rivalry over family resources
influences the development of personality.
As a means of reducing competition, siblings differentiate,
develop different qualities and choose different interests.
When siblings don’t find their niches,
their relationship can suffer.
The Kellogg brothers hated each other,
and fought in court over who invented Corn Flakes.
The Dasslers competed in business,
after one started Adidas, the other founded Puma.
But many siblings love each other more than anything.
So what do we know about siblings in general?
Here 6 things science suggests to be true:
First born and single children look up to their father or mother as role models.
The gap in mental and physical development between them and their parents
may be the reason that they have, on average, a higher IQ.
Parents tend to give their first born more attention and often set higher expectations.
If they can’t live up to those expectations, they may feel inferior,
but on average, they seem to benefit from their position.
Younger siblings model their development after their big brothers or sisters.
They have a smaller developmental gap to overcome.
They may also feel that they have less to prove,
but as a result of a lack of parental attention,
they develop social anxiety more often.
On average, relationships between brothers are more conflicted.
Relationships between sisters are more intimate.
Siblings spend more time together than they spend with their parents,
younger siblings even twice as much.
Children with siblings are physically more active and less often obese.
They are often happier too.
Some studies suggest that they develop social skills faster
than children from only child families, but the research isn’t conclusive.
Sibling attachment seems to be a strong predictor of well-being,
sometimes more important than paternal attachment.
This also means that if one is bullying the other,
it can affect them for life.
One Swedish study of people aged 80 years found
that while closeness to friends did little for total life satisfaction,
feeling close with a sibling did a lot.
For those of you struggling with a difficult sibling, Adler had the following advice:
“A simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along with
is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority;
and you must deal with him from that point of view.”
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Most people have a sibling,