Siblings : parent-child attachments, perceptions, interacion and family dynamics

Abstract : Ever since its development by the British psychiatrist John Bowlby in 1973, the theory of parent-child attachment has elicited a great deal of research. According to this theory, a child is born with a behavioral system which enables the child, when in a situation of distress, to seek protection with an attachment figure, typically the mother. For nearly forty years, Bowlby's theory has attempted to define the role and the characteristics of both the child and the attachment figure, while also showing that children who are secure in their relationship with a parent spend more time exploring their environment and demonstrate better social adjustment that children considered insecure. Research has also shown that, in addition to the mother, other people, especially within the family, can serve as attachment figures for children. Parallel to this, the family system theory has developed. This theory introduces the idea that the family, with all its different members, functions as a system comprised of multiple subsystems (intergenerational, marital, coparental, parent-child and sibling) which are both autonomous and interdependent. In our study, we chose to associate these two theories so as to reveal, for each member of the family (father, mother, oldest and youngest children), the perception of the different types of parent-child attachment existing within the family (mother-oldest child attachment, mother-youngest child attachment and father-oldest child attachment, father-youngest child attachment). This is a novel approach in that it makes it possible to demonstrate that perceptions vary from person to person and that certain variables carry more weight than others in family dynamics. This approach also helps to explain why a brother and sister from the same sibling group may each have a different type of attachment to the same caregiver and why a child may have a different type of attachment to each parent.
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S. Pinel-Jacquemin, Chantal Zaouche Gaudron. Siblings : parent-child attachments, perceptions, interacion and family dynamics . Journal of Communications Research, Nova Science Publishers, 2013, 5. ⟨hal-01498767⟩

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