9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN11 Sociology of Emotions

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Relations & Emotions I Building II, C6.06

Sibship as a Mental Health Factor in Families - Emotional Enrichment of Sibling Relationship

The contribution deals with the very special bonding between siblings. In the past it has been asserted that defining features of sibship are conflict and retardation. In spite of bearing in mind that there is an experience of rivalry between the siblings, the paper argues that the daily encounter with siblings influence every child emotionally. The focus here is the enhancing aspect of having a brother or sister. The main issue deals with the encouragement and advancement which they give to each other.
Some new findings will be presented around sibship on the basis of a qualitative case-study of the thesis of the author. The power in interactions between siblings is not simply a question of birth order. Siblings develop a specific dynamic relationship which includes positive impacts on their development. The repertoire of skills and knowledge which are learnt and applied through and within siblings´ interaction can be regarded as a mental health factor during the time of growing up. Dynamics of the existentially relevant affiliation system will be described - which means the belonging to the family of origin.
Siblings share time, space and knowledge which lead to a unique intimacy. Communication rules and exchanging rules between siblings have a very special character without parental steering. Changing coalitions strengthen the siblings regardless of age. Encouraging each other is a crucial psychological factor too. The contact to origin needs arise a further understanding of equivalence and empathy. Siblings are looking for gaining the accomplishment of exchange and negotiation. Sibship generates symmetrical reciprocity, dyadic coping and emotional capital. Siblings assist and enhance each other right from the beginning of life. That sociological phenomenon can be described as an enormous resilience factor.
The lack of sociological research about early childhood sibship leads to insistence on old beliefs like the trauma of dethronement. The paper will help to abolish this old prejudice. The results will be demonstrated with the help of an explanation of siblings´ inner notions of sharing daily routines as well as special challenging situations. First and foremost siblings enrich themselves in mental health.