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Parents leave us too soon. Spouses and chil-
dren come along later in life. But siblings
are there across the decades. Perhaps no
person knows one better, or more completely, than
the individual or individuals with whom one shares
a home, a bedroom, a bus stop, parental attention,
toothpaste, yard work and years upon years of
childhood memories.
In his popular TED Talk, Jeffrey Kluger, author of
The Sibling Effect, opined on the sibling dynamic.
“There may be no relationship that affects us
more profoundly, that’s closer, finer, harder, sweeter,
happier, sadder, more filled with joy or fraught with
woe than the relationship we have with our brothers
and sisters,” he said.
Jonathan Caspi, Ph.D., is a family studies pro-
fessor at Montclair State University in New Jersey
and author of the book Sibling Development. He
has published books and numerous studies on the
sibling relationship, which he asserts can be one of
life’s most intense.
“The sibling relationship involves lots of positive
feelings, connection, togetherness, bickering, an-
tagonism and not-so-great feelings,” he says.
The combination of this emotional intensity and
the sheer amount of time siblings spend together
sets individuals up for a lifetime of influence in posi-
tive and negative ways.
“Research demonstrates siblings are really influ-
ential in who we become – perhaps even more than
parents,” he says.
And it doesn’t end there. Caspi says research has
identified a link between positive sibling relation-
ships and living longer, with greater happiness and
better health in later years.
So how can parents foster this important rela-
tionship beginning from early on? Here, we offer
some tips.
LOVE
To celebrate siblings, Metro Parent staff submitted throwback photos of themselves with their siblings.
Sibling
They’re playmates, adversaries, champions, antagonists — and, researchers say,
represent one of the most formative relationships we’ll have over the course of life.
So how can parents nurture positive sibling bonds, helping kids reap the many
long-term benefits siblinghood can afford? Here, experts offer some top tips.
By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann
*
Web editor Stacey Winconek, age 4, withbig brothers Peter and Johnny
Multimedia sales specialist Kathy Harvey, right, at
age 3 with siblings Julie and Dan
CONTINUED ON PAGE 35
MetroParent.com « August 2016 » 3332 « August 2016 » MetroParent.com
1
Nurture a bond from
the start
Lisa and Bill Finateri of Birmingham wel-
comed their second child, daughter Zoey, in
June, joining big brother Derek, who is 3 1/2.
From early in the pregnancy, the Finateris
worked to help prepare Derek for the coming
change to their family dynamic.
“We had him help prepare her room,” Lisa
says. “He helped paint and pick out things.
We talked to him about everything he would
need to teach her, since he’s such a big boy.
Now that she’s here, he likes to hang out with
me while I’m nursing her to ‘help’ by bringing
her toys.”
The Finateris try to keep things as normal as
possible for Derek by continuing to take him to
do things just with mom or just with dad.
Joshua Sparrow, M.D., author of Under-
standing Sibling Rivalry – The Brazelton Way,
would approve of the Finateris’ efforts. He says
it’s common for parents to worry about how
their first child will respond to being dethroned
by a new baby.
“Parents feel terribly guilty and respon-
sible,” he says. “They say to themselves, ‘She
won’t be jealous. She won’t feel deserted by
me. I won’t let that happen.’ Guess what? It
will always be that way. Accept it and open up
the conversation.”
Sparrow encourages parents to make space
for the feelings that their older child is likely to
have. He says they should assume their child
will struggle with feelings like jealousy and
resentment, but that they can help him or her
work through these feelings.
“Tell the child he or she will always be your
first baby,” Sparrow says. “Carve out regular
time for the older child and protect this time.”
Going from star of the show to cast member
can cause some kids to act out. Caspi advo-
cates including the older child as part of the
process.
“Communicate the message that we’re in
this together,” he says. “Prepare the child for
his or her new sibling in an inclusive and re-
alistic way. Acknowledge with your child that
sometimes it will be hard, but that you are so
proud of him or her becoming a big sibling.”
2
Coach on conflict
management
Laurie Kramer, Ph.D., is a professor of ap-
plied psychology at Northeastern University
in Boston. She has done extensive research on
the sibling relationship and says that small chil-
dren bicker an average of eight times an hour.
“Research shows that some conflict, when
not hurtful, is linked to some developmental
achievements,” she notes. “When you wake
up the next day after a big fight with your
brother or sister, they’re still your sibling. It’s
different from friends where the relationship is
voluntary.”
Kramer notes that children learn from mild
conflicts. Examples include conflict manage-
ment, how to deal with negative emotions
that come from conflict, and who they are and
what they believe in.
“This is why we don’t rule out all opportuni-
ties to engage in conflict,” she says.
Research has shown parents can play an
important role in ensuring kids have the skills
to manage conflicts. Kramer is a proponent of
teaching children collaborative problem solving
so each child figures out a way for his or her
essential needs to be met.
“The idea is to encourage kids to identify
what the fight is about, what each wants to
happen and then to come up with some ideas
to resolve the conflict and let each child get
what he or she needs,” Kramer explains.
She has developed a prevention and inter-
vention program for families called “More Fun
with Sisters and Brothers” that teaches kids a
simple self-control strategy: Stop, think and
talk. She says the program works well for kids
in the 4- to 8-years-old age range.
Using the example of kids fighting over the
remote control, she would encourage a parent
to say something like, “I see an issue here. We
need to use our sibling steps.”
“The kids are cued to stop what they’re
doing,” she explains. “The second step is to
think. The parent then coaches through what
each child is thinking and wants to see hap-
pen. Both kids should be able to express their
unfettered wants.”
Next, she’d prompt parents to ask each
child to tell them back what is important to the
other sibling. It may be that they each want
a different show or that they don’t like being
bossed around. Both can get their needs met.
LOVE
Sibling
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33
CONTINUED ON PAGE 37
Office assistant
Kerri Sutton,
right, age 19, with
sister Kendra
Associate editor Megan Krueger, left, age 6, with sister Emily
MetroParent.com « August 2016 » 3534 « August 2016 » MetroParent.com
3
Avoid
comparisons
Sparrow says it’s vitally important for par-
ents not to compare their kids to one another.
“Don’t talk in judgmental terms about one
child to the other,” he says. “Don’t set up
competition.”
Caspi notes that parents sometimes intro-
duce their child or talk about one child as “the
smart one” or “the athletic one.”
“The child hears that as ‘I am not athletic,’”
he says.
He encourages parents not to force their
kids to be in the same activities. Allowing them
to have their own activities gives them space
for their abilities to develop.
In “sports” families where perhaps one child
is a very strong athlete and another is in the art
world, parents need to be just as enthusiastic
and supportive of the child whose interest isn’t
as aligned with the family’s focus, Caspi says.
4
Avoid playing
favorites
Caspi says that while most parents would
say they don’t have a favorite child, their kids
would answer otherwise.
“Research has found that kids – even adult
kids – believe there was favoritism in their
family,” he notes.
Kramer says that when siblings believe there
is unjustified or unfair treatment, it can be as-
sociated with a range of negative outcomes
related to individual well-being, sibling rela-
tionship quality and parent-relationship quality.
“This doesn’t mean parents have to treat
siblings the same way,” she notes. “That is
impossible. They are different individual people
at different developmental levels. They don’t
want or need the same things.”
It is the perception of differential treatment
that needs to be taken seriously by parents,
both Kramer and Caspi say.
“Periodically, ask your child how he or she
feels,” Caspi suggests. “Then be open to the
answer. Don’t be defensive or dismiss accusa-
tions. It’s nice to bring this up when things are
going well.”
He suggests parents broach the subject by
asking if the child thinks he or she is treated
fairly or how it is to be in his or her family.
LOVE
Sibling
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35
5
Schedule uninterrupted
family time
The tween and teen years can see sibling
relationships that were once close become less
so. Sparrow acknowledges distance between
siblings can be difficult for parents to observe,
but they can never manufacture relationships.
“I also wouldn’t assume distance between
siblings in middle school means distance over
time,” he notes.
Sparrow says that often a younger sibling
reminds an older sibling of what he or she no
longer wants to be. Distance and argumenta-
tive behavior may become more common-
place.
“Parents try to force things and in the
process get things further off track,” he says.
“When you tell a 13- or 14-year-old that he
has to play with his little brother when he
wants to be with his peers, it’s like an obliga-
tion or a punishment.”
His advice is for parents to develop a ritual
for family time together with no agenda,
something low-key that everyone can do and
enjoy.
“It might be a hike in the woods together
where there aren’t things like screens pulling
people away,” he says. “In the old days, it was
board games. Someone wins and someone
loses, but you’re all together.”
Managing editor Kim Kovelle,
age 7, with younger siblings
Charlie and Sarah
Writer Jacquie
Goetz Bluethmann
(far right), age 7,
with sisters Mary
Beth, Lori and
Carrie
Then they talk through ideas like using a timer
or taking turns.
“The parent should not evaluate these,”
she says. “Just guide the children through the
process.”
The kids then pick the best idea and try it
out. If it works, great. If not, they should go
back and pick a different idea.
“Kids learn quickly, even at age 4,” she
says. “They just need coaching through the
process. Over time, the kids will automatically
get to generating solutions to the problem on
their own.”
ADVERTISEMENT
MetroParent.com « August 2016 » 3736 « August 2016 » MetroParent.com
6
Foster open
communication with
much older siblings
Sibling relationships where a significant age
gap exists present their own challenges and
opportunities.
“When you have siblings very close in age,
they tend to fight more, but also tend to be
much closer,” Caspi says.
When there is a big age difference, the
relationship may be friendlier but also more
distant.
“There’s not as much to fight over,” he
says. “A 12-year-old is not interested in a
2-year-old’s toys.”
He notes that the younger child is likely in
most cases to be excited to have another older
person to pay attention to him or her. Where
opportunities for strife often occur is in care-
taking expectations.
“Is it being coerced? Has there been any
discussion on the topic?” Caspi asks. “The
older sibling may be resentful that he can’t be
with his friends because he has to watch his
little sibling.”
Caspi encourages parents to have open
discussions with the older child about his or
her caretaking role and to praise the older child
for helping.
Kramer concurs, noting that the older sib-
ling may feel like he or she is a pseudo parent
responsible for the younger sibling’s well-being
but with no authority. She advises parents to
encourage older siblings to share their feelings
and why they feel that what they are being
asked to do is unfair.
Despite large age differences, the essential
sibling relationship ingredients can apply across
the life span, Kramer notes. While children
have different developmental issues in high
school and preschool and very different inter-
ests, parents can find some activities for them
to connect by leveling the playing field, so all
are able to participate in a meaningful way.
“Marshmallow roasts come to mind,” she
says. “Think of things all can enjoy.”
7
Set a zero tolerance
violence policy
According to Caspi, the No. 1 form of child
maltreatment is perpetrated by siblings.
“Sibling abuse outnumbers peer abuse,
parental abuse and domestic violence com-
bined,” says Caspi, who notes that this in-
cludes physical and sexual abuse and psycho-
logical torment. “But no one talks about it.”
Caspi indicates that among the many rea-
sons for the high incidence of sibling abuse
is that people don’t tend to take violence be-
tween siblings seriously, so it’s perpetuated.
“There is no relationship other than siblings
where you can punch someone without conse-
quences,” he says. “Many times when you see
brothers punching, families just attribute it to
siblings being siblings.”
Caspi notes that parental favoritism com-
bined with lack of supervision can breed in-
tense violence.
“We live in a violent world,” he notes. “A
lot of how kids see people expressing anger
LOVE
Sibling
is by being violent. If not checked or if it is
modeled by aggressive parents, it will play out
among siblings.”
Caspi says families should establish “no
violence” rules from day one.
“When families observe a 10-year-old and
a 12-year-old fighting, they often assume it’s
bi-directional,” he notes. “But typically one is
instigating and one is defending. The 10-year-
old is not excited about it.”
8
Help only children
have peer social
experiences
While myriad developmental benefits are
afforded by having a sibling, only children are
not at a loss. That is if their parents proactively
seek out ways to help their child have peer-
based social and emotional experiences with
cousins, preschool friends or neighbor kids,
Kramer says.
“If an only child was never to go to pre-
school and then starts kindergarten at age 5,
it could be tough for him or her,” she notes.
“They missed opportunities to struggle for
resources and attention.”
Caspi notes that only children are at an ad-
vantage in many facets of life.
“They have no competition for parental at-
tention and resources,” he notes. “They grow
up in more mature environments. They learn
how to manage with adults. They tend to be
high achievers and hold leadership roles.”
This is true, he notes, when kids grow up in
happy families where their parents’ marriage
is strong. “Where only children are at a disad-
vantage is in dealing with the bad things in life.
In this case, not having a sibling is huge. These
kids may feel more depressed or isolated. Hav-
ing a good sibling relationship is a really good
buffer for dealing with the bad things in life.
The negative effects of a parent’s divorce, for
example, are not as hard on siblings.”
– Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann is a mother of
three from Bloomfield Hills and frequent
Metro Parent contributor.
LOSING A SIBLING
After losing their sister, two Detroit natives started a website to
provide resources for grieving a sibling. Read about their story
and their site at MetroParent.com/SibLoss.
Creative director Kelly Buren, age 2, with older siblings Katie, David and Michael
*
MetroParent.com « August 2016 » 3938 « August 2016 » MetroParent.com

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Sibling love

  • 1. Parents leave us too soon. Spouses and chil- dren come along later in life. But siblings are there across the decades. Perhaps no person knows one better, or more completely, than the individual or individuals with whom one shares a home, a bedroom, a bus stop, parental attention, toothpaste, yard work and years upon years of childhood memories. In his popular TED Talk, Jeffrey Kluger, author of The Sibling Effect, opined on the sibling dynamic. “There may be no relationship that affects us more profoundly, that’s closer, finer, harder, sweeter, happier, sadder, more filled with joy or fraught with woe than the relationship we have with our brothers and sisters,” he said. Jonathan Caspi, Ph.D., is a family studies pro- fessor at Montclair State University in New Jersey and author of the book Sibling Development. He has published books and numerous studies on the sibling relationship, which he asserts can be one of life’s most intense. “The sibling relationship involves lots of positive feelings, connection, togetherness, bickering, an- tagonism and not-so-great feelings,” he says. The combination of this emotional intensity and the sheer amount of time siblings spend together sets individuals up for a lifetime of influence in posi- tive and negative ways. “Research demonstrates siblings are really influ- ential in who we become – perhaps even more than parents,” he says. And it doesn’t end there. Caspi says research has identified a link between positive sibling relation- ships and living longer, with greater happiness and better health in later years. So how can parents foster this important rela- tionship beginning from early on? Here, we offer some tips. LOVE To celebrate siblings, Metro Parent staff submitted throwback photos of themselves with their siblings. Sibling They’re playmates, adversaries, champions, antagonists — and, researchers say, represent one of the most formative relationships we’ll have over the course of life. So how can parents nurture positive sibling bonds, helping kids reap the many long-term benefits siblinghood can afford? Here, experts offer some top tips. By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann * Web editor Stacey Winconek, age 4, withbig brothers Peter and Johnny Multimedia sales specialist Kathy Harvey, right, at age 3 with siblings Julie and Dan CONTINUED ON PAGE 35 MetroParent.com « August 2016 » 3332 « August 2016 » MetroParent.com
  • 2. 1 Nurture a bond from the start Lisa and Bill Finateri of Birmingham wel- comed their second child, daughter Zoey, in June, joining big brother Derek, who is 3 1/2. From early in the pregnancy, the Finateris worked to help prepare Derek for the coming change to their family dynamic. “We had him help prepare her room,” Lisa says. “He helped paint and pick out things. We talked to him about everything he would need to teach her, since he’s such a big boy. Now that she’s here, he likes to hang out with me while I’m nursing her to ‘help’ by bringing her toys.” The Finateris try to keep things as normal as possible for Derek by continuing to take him to do things just with mom or just with dad. Joshua Sparrow, M.D., author of Under- standing Sibling Rivalry – The Brazelton Way, would approve of the Finateris’ efforts. He says it’s common for parents to worry about how their first child will respond to being dethroned by a new baby. “Parents feel terribly guilty and respon- sible,” he says. “They say to themselves, ‘She won’t be jealous. She won’t feel deserted by me. I won’t let that happen.’ Guess what? It will always be that way. Accept it and open up the conversation.” Sparrow encourages parents to make space for the feelings that their older child is likely to have. He says they should assume their child will struggle with feelings like jealousy and resentment, but that they can help him or her work through these feelings. “Tell the child he or she will always be your first baby,” Sparrow says. “Carve out regular time for the older child and protect this time.” Going from star of the show to cast member can cause some kids to act out. Caspi advo- cates including the older child as part of the process. “Communicate the message that we’re in this together,” he says. “Prepare the child for his or her new sibling in an inclusive and re- alistic way. Acknowledge with your child that sometimes it will be hard, but that you are so proud of him or her becoming a big sibling.” 2 Coach on conflict management Laurie Kramer, Ph.D., is a professor of ap- plied psychology at Northeastern University in Boston. She has done extensive research on the sibling relationship and says that small chil- dren bicker an average of eight times an hour. “Research shows that some conflict, when not hurtful, is linked to some developmental achievements,” she notes. “When you wake up the next day after a big fight with your brother or sister, they’re still your sibling. It’s different from friends where the relationship is voluntary.” Kramer notes that children learn from mild conflicts. Examples include conflict manage- ment, how to deal with negative emotions that come from conflict, and who they are and what they believe in. “This is why we don’t rule out all opportuni- ties to engage in conflict,” she says. Research has shown parents can play an important role in ensuring kids have the skills to manage conflicts. Kramer is a proponent of teaching children collaborative problem solving so each child figures out a way for his or her essential needs to be met. “The idea is to encourage kids to identify what the fight is about, what each wants to happen and then to come up with some ideas to resolve the conflict and let each child get what he or she needs,” Kramer explains. She has developed a prevention and inter- vention program for families called “More Fun with Sisters and Brothers” that teaches kids a simple self-control strategy: Stop, think and talk. She says the program works well for kids in the 4- to 8-years-old age range. Using the example of kids fighting over the remote control, she would encourage a parent to say something like, “I see an issue here. We need to use our sibling steps.” “The kids are cued to stop what they’re doing,” she explains. “The second step is to think. The parent then coaches through what each child is thinking and wants to see hap- pen. Both kids should be able to express their unfettered wants.” Next, she’d prompt parents to ask each child to tell them back what is important to the other sibling. It may be that they each want a different show or that they don’t like being bossed around. Both can get their needs met. LOVE Sibling CONTINUED FROM PAGE 33 CONTINUED ON PAGE 37 Office assistant Kerri Sutton, right, age 19, with sister Kendra Associate editor Megan Krueger, left, age 6, with sister Emily MetroParent.com « August 2016 » 3534 « August 2016 » MetroParent.com
  • 3. 3 Avoid comparisons Sparrow says it’s vitally important for par- ents not to compare their kids to one another. “Don’t talk in judgmental terms about one child to the other,” he says. “Don’t set up competition.” Caspi notes that parents sometimes intro- duce their child or talk about one child as “the smart one” or “the athletic one.” “The child hears that as ‘I am not athletic,’” he says. He encourages parents not to force their kids to be in the same activities. Allowing them to have their own activities gives them space for their abilities to develop. In “sports” families where perhaps one child is a very strong athlete and another is in the art world, parents need to be just as enthusiastic and supportive of the child whose interest isn’t as aligned with the family’s focus, Caspi says. 4 Avoid playing favorites Caspi says that while most parents would say they don’t have a favorite child, their kids would answer otherwise. “Research has found that kids – even adult kids – believe there was favoritism in their family,” he notes. Kramer says that when siblings believe there is unjustified or unfair treatment, it can be as- sociated with a range of negative outcomes related to individual well-being, sibling rela- tionship quality and parent-relationship quality. “This doesn’t mean parents have to treat siblings the same way,” she notes. “That is impossible. They are different individual people at different developmental levels. They don’t want or need the same things.” It is the perception of differential treatment that needs to be taken seriously by parents, both Kramer and Caspi say. “Periodically, ask your child how he or she feels,” Caspi suggests. “Then be open to the answer. Don’t be defensive or dismiss accusa- tions. It’s nice to bring this up when things are going well.” He suggests parents broach the subject by asking if the child thinks he or she is treated fairly or how it is to be in his or her family. LOVE Sibling CONTINUED FROM PAGE 35 5 Schedule uninterrupted family time The tween and teen years can see sibling relationships that were once close become less so. Sparrow acknowledges distance between siblings can be difficult for parents to observe, but they can never manufacture relationships. “I also wouldn’t assume distance between siblings in middle school means distance over time,” he notes. Sparrow says that often a younger sibling reminds an older sibling of what he or she no longer wants to be. Distance and argumenta- tive behavior may become more common- place. “Parents try to force things and in the process get things further off track,” he says. “When you tell a 13- or 14-year-old that he has to play with his little brother when he wants to be with his peers, it’s like an obliga- tion or a punishment.” His advice is for parents to develop a ritual for family time together with no agenda, something low-key that everyone can do and enjoy. “It might be a hike in the woods together where there aren’t things like screens pulling people away,” he says. “In the old days, it was board games. Someone wins and someone loses, but you’re all together.” Managing editor Kim Kovelle, age 7, with younger siblings Charlie and Sarah Writer Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann (far right), age 7, with sisters Mary Beth, Lori and Carrie Then they talk through ideas like using a timer or taking turns. “The parent should not evaluate these,” she says. “Just guide the children through the process.” The kids then pick the best idea and try it out. If it works, great. If not, they should go back and pick a different idea. “Kids learn quickly, even at age 4,” she says. “They just need coaching through the process. Over time, the kids will automatically get to generating solutions to the problem on their own.” ADVERTISEMENT MetroParent.com « August 2016 » 3736 « August 2016 » MetroParent.com
  • 4. 6 Foster open communication with much older siblings Sibling relationships where a significant age gap exists present their own challenges and opportunities. “When you have siblings very close in age, they tend to fight more, but also tend to be much closer,” Caspi says. When there is a big age difference, the relationship may be friendlier but also more distant. “There’s not as much to fight over,” he says. “A 12-year-old is not interested in a 2-year-old’s toys.” He notes that the younger child is likely in most cases to be excited to have another older person to pay attention to him or her. Where opportunities for strife often occur is in care- taking expectations. “Is it being coerced? Has there been any discussion on the topic?” Caspi asks. “The older sibling may be resentful that he can’t be with his friends because he has to watch his little sibling.” Caspi encourages parents to have open discussions with the older child about his or her caretaking role and to praise the older child for helping. Kramer concurs, noting that the older sib- ling may feel like he or she is a pseudo parent responsible for the younger sibling’s well-being but with no authority. She advises parents to encourage older siblings to share their feelings and why they feel that what they are being asked to do is unfair. Despite large age differences, the essential sibling relationship ingredients can apply across the life span, Kramer notes. While children have different developmental issues in high school and preschool and very different inter- ests, parents can find some activities for them to connect by leveling the playing field, so all are able to participate in a meaningful way. “Marshmallow roasts come to mind,” she says. “Think of things all can enjoy.” 7 Set a zero tolerance violence policy According to Caspi, the No. 1 form of child maltreatment is perpetrated by siblings. “Sibling abuse outnumbers peer abuse, parental abuse and domestic violence com- bined,” says Caspi, who notes that this in- cludes physical and sexual abuse and psycho- logical torment. “But no one talks about it.” Caspi indicates that among the many rea- sons for the high incidence of sibling abuse is that people don’t tend to take violence be- tween siblings seriously, so it’s perpetuated. “There is no relationship other than siblings where you can punch someone without conse- quences,” he says. “Many times when you see brothers punching, families just attribute it to siblings being siblings.” Caspi notes that parental favoritism com- bined with lack of supervision can breed in- tense violence. “We live in a violent world,” he notes. “A lot of how kids see people expressing anger LOVE Sibling is by being violent. If not checked or if it is modeled by aggressive parents, it will play out among siblings.” Caspi says families should establish “no violence” rules from day one. “When families observe a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old fighting, they often assume it’s bi-directional,” he notes. “But typically one is instigating and one is defending. The 10-year- old is not excited about it.” 8 Help only children have peer social experiences While myriad developmental benefits are afforded by having a sibling, only children are not at a loss. That is if their parents proactively seek out ways to help their child have peer- based social and emotional experiences with cousins, preschool friends or neighbor kids, Kramer says. “If an only child was never to go to pre- school and then starts kindergarten at age 5, it could be tough for him or her,” she notes. “They missed opportunities to struggle for resources and attention.” Caspi notes that only children are at an ad- vantage in many facets of life. “They have no competition for parental at- tention and resources,” he notes. “They grow up in more mature environments. They learn how to manage with adults. They tend to be high achievers and hold leadership roles.” This is true, he notes, when kids grow up in happy families where their parents’ marriage is strong. “Where only children are at a disad- vantage is in dealing with the bad things in life. In this case, not having a sibling is huge. These kids may feel more depressed or isolated. Hav- ing a good sibling relationship is a really good buffer for dealing with the bad things in life. The negative effects of a parent’s divorce, for example, are not as hard on siblings.” – Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann is a mother of three from Bloomfield Hills and frequent Metro Parent contributor. LOSING A SIBLING After losing their sister, two Detroit natives started a website to provide resources for grieving a sibling. Read about their story and their site at MetroParent.com/SibLoss. Creative director Kelly Buren, age 2, with older siblings Katie, David and Michael * MetroParent.com « August 2016 » 3938 « August 2016 » MetroParent.com