Does Age Difference Affect How Well Siblings Get Along?
How does age difference between siblings affect how well they get along? This is a question I have often asked myself, having an older brother. We are pretty close in age, being only 15 months apart. Now that he is away at college, we get along fairly well, but we fought all the time when we were younger and he lived at home. I have friends who have siblings who are quite a bit older or younger than them, and they generally seem to get along better than my brother and I used to. However, I also have friends who have siblings close in age, like me, and they also get along well with them. Were my brother and I just not very "compatible" siblings? Did we just never really want to get along with one another? Or is there really some correlation between the age gap in siblings, and how well they get along with one another in childhood and through adolescence?
There has been a lot of research done about this topic, and many families even try to have children spaced apart a certain way to guarantee that their children will get along. There is not really one clear or easy answer to this question, however. Many psychologists and family doctors say that how well siblings get along depends mainly on their personalities, not how far apart in age they are. There are also other factors to consider such as parenting strategies and children's gender. However, there are also many proponents of the age difference. It has been found that children who are less than two years apart sometimes have more conflict than those spaced further apart. Also, often, the closer in age the siblings are, the more likely it is that there will be ongoing fighting. Kids who are closer in age are more likely to spend time together and to share friends and interests, so there is more opportunity for conflict and rivalry to occur. Furthermore, children who have better-quality relationships in childhood generally have more positive sibling interactions in adolescence and young adulthood, while children who are not as close and experience high levels of conflict in childhood generally do not have good-quality relationships in adolescence or young adulthood. These children can even carry their resentments and anger to old age. However, most people agree that waiting a specific number of years between children will certainly not insure a particular type of sibling relationship.