Aug. 28, 2018

Why Are Our Kids Such Total Opposites?

It’s not your imagination: kids raised in the same family push in opposite directions. Why do siblings, especially closely-spaced or same-sex ones, deidentify? We discuss the three theories out there, and whether parents need to do anything about it.

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It’s not your imagination: kids raised in the same family really do push in opposite directions– and we mean POLAR opposites, especially for closely-spaced or same-sex siblings. But why the de-identification? And how is it even possible for kids reared in the same environment to be so completely different?

 In this episode we discuss:


 the three theories social scientists have about this phenomenon

 why siblings may “evolve” like Darwin’s finches

 how “the shy one” in a given family may not be that shy at all- except compared to that outgoing sibling

 what parents need to watch out for in terms of leaning in to these (sometimes oversimplified) categories


 Here’s links to the fascinating research, and stuff that it reminded us of, discussed in this episode:

 Alix Spiegel for NPR: Siblings Share Genes, But Rarely Personalities

NYT: Each Sibling Experiences a Different Family

Dr. Robert Plomin and Dr Denise Daniels: Why are Children in the Same Family So Different From One Another?

Dr. Frank Sullaway: Why Siblings Are Like Darwin’s Finches: Birth Order, Sibling Competition, and Adaptive Divergence within the Family

Dr. Robert Plomin and Dr. Judy Dunn: Why Are Siblings So Different? The Significance of Differences in Sibling Experiences Within the Family

Science Daily: Parents’ Comparisons Make Siblings Different

Dr. Alexander Jensen and Dr. Susan McHale: What makes siblings different? The development of sibling differences in academic achievement and interests.

Amy’s yin-and-yang sons, born on the Chinese days of Greatest Heat (Dashu) and Deepest Snow (Daxue)

the hilarious book Hyperbole and a Half, with its “Hot Sauce” reminder of what happens when we lean too hard into what we maybe only *think* are our children’s defining characteristics

and our own episode discussing birth order and how it shapes our kids’ personalities.

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