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Children’s earliest interactions are those that occur in their families; given that most children in Western societies have at least one sibling, relations with brothers and sisters constitute an important part of the family system.

Sibling interactions have a number of unique features that differentiate them from children’s other early relationships such as with parents and peers. First, inherent developmental and power differences between older and younger siblings in the same family lead children to take on different roles in sibling interactions. For instance, older siblings more frequently act as caretakers and teachers for their younger siblings than vice versa. At the same time, because they are often relatively close in age, siblings engage in reciprocal and returned exchanges that are typical of peers, such ...

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