SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS IN
Sara Gable, State Specialist, Human Development and Family Studies
Kelly Cole, Extension Associate
When parents divorce, brothers and sisters may begin to interact differently.
While some siblings become closer at this time, others may argue more and become
It is difficult to predict how children will respond in any
The emotional stress that parents feel following divorce may temporarily
reduce the amount of attention they are able to give their children. As a
result, some children turn to one another for nurturance and support.
Because siblings experience many of the same emotions, they are able to
understand each other's feelings and concerns and to reassure each other.
children, however, may engage in more conflict with their siblings. These
children may feel confused and angry about the changes that are occurring in
their family and they take these negative feelings out on their siblings. Some
siblings also engage in more conflict because they are competing for their
Parents may be able to reduce their children's rivalry by talking with them,
listening to them, and spending some time alone with each child. Parents also
need to realize that younger siblings may have an easier time expressing their
confusion than their older siblings.
Therefore, parents should be sure to talk to the older siblings even if they
do not seem upset. It is also important for parents to encourage children to
continue rituals that were established before the divorce so they will have some
feelings of continuity and stability.
We extend our appreciation to Amanda Kowal, assistant professor of human
development and family studies, for her insights on sibling relationships in
2002 University of Missouri.
Published by University
Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia.
Article was base on Sibling
Relationships In Divorced Families