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Siblings Are Responsible For The Child's Bad Behavior More Than Genetics, Parenting Or Friends, New Study Says

First Posted: Nov 16, 2016 03:00 AM EST

Most parents think that their child's bad behavior could be influenced by their friends. On the other hand, a new study suggests that child's siblings do influence his or her behavior the most.

The study was led by a team of researchers from Florida Atlantic University. They discovered that siblings are responsible for the child's bad behaviors in adolescents more than genes, parents or friends, according to WTAX.

This explains the significance of the roles of brothers and sisters in a family. Professor Brett Laursen from Florida Atlantic's Psychology Department told Mail Online that sibling influence on children's behavior rivals that of their peers. He further said that people spend much time worrying about peer pressure and what happens when children hang around with the "wrong friends." On the other hand, people spend little time worrying about whether siblings are a source of untoward influence.

Professor Laursen, who is also the lead author of the study, explained that the closer in age you are to your siblings, the more important and influential that sibling is. He further explained that the reason for this is that problem behaviors spread indirectly between siblings. The key take-home message from this study is that intervention programs need to be targeted at specific problem behaviors and not the (sibling) relationship itself.

In the study, the team examined the pairs of identical and fraternal twins in Quebec. They gathered data for each pair ages between 13 and 15. They found that siblings have a key role in increasing the problem behaviors over time. The impact of the siblings is more than the child's parents, friends or genes.

The researchers found that problems spread between siblings within problem behavior domains. That is, one sibling's delinquency affects the other sibling's delinquency. If one is in a substance abuse, the tendency is the other will be, too.

The results of the study confirm that poor behaviors in children cannot be explained by parenting or genetics. Professor Laursen said that although parents are often the target of intervention, practitioners would be well advised to focus their efforts on siblings, who are more influential than parents when it comes to substance use and delinquency, and whose influence rivals that of friends.

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