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Families And Relationships

There are many individual characteristics when it comes to a child, their parents, and sibling that influence their interactions.

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Sibling Relationships

When it comes to sibling relationships in middle childhood, high levels of conflict are characterized. Arguments tend to happen between older and younger siblings fighting over personal possessions. Researchers have found that families who have close relationships with one another and having a father interact positively with the family will have less sibling conflicts. Gender also has an impact on sibling relationships. "Having a sibling belonging to a same versus opposite sex is likely to predict friendship experiences" (Zembar & Blume, 2009).

In middle childhood, parent-child interaction consists more of supervising from a distance and less of caregiving or playing. Parent-child relationships involve a greater capacity of self-regulation and social responsibility. This also involves more involvement with peers outside of the family. With parent-child relationships, the concept of parenting styles comes along with this. "Parenting styles is a way parent's guide their children's behavior" (Zembar & Blume, 2009). There are a variety of different parenting styles such as authoritative (high levels of control and warmth), authoritarian (controlling but low in warmth), permissive (warm but low in control) and uninvolved (neither warm or controlling). However, with parents that are authoritative towards their children, results in high scores with their academic achievement.

The majority of children living in the United States are living in a single-parent home. The result of single-parents is mostly from divorced parents and about 23% are from women who had children but never married. Living arrangements with single-parent families vary on the ethnicity and race of the family. Most children will live with their mothers over their fathers due to the family court likely to award the mothers. However, over the years single-parent fathers have increased by 500%. When it comes to middle school-aged children living in a single-parent home, they seem to adapt better with the same sex parent. With boys living with their fathers, they find them to have higher self-esteem, more mature, and independent. When it comes to girls living with their fathers, lower self-esteem seems to occur more, more aggression and less social with peers.

The majority of divorced parents remarry within five years, which adds a lot of stress to a child's life when having to adjust to a new family and siblings. About 5-6% of children today live in a stepfamily household. When it comes to stepfamilies, children will experience multiple moves and schools. It has been found that children in a stepfamily household will experience increased negative behavior and more conflict between the siblings. To help children cope better with living in a stepfamily household, discuss remarriage issues, resolve grief, reduce jealously and increase family flexibility.

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