How Our Siblings Shape Us

How our relationships with our siblings fundamentally shape the people we become.

Silblings (photosavvy/Flickr)

Silblings (photosavvy/Flickr)

If you’ve got brothers and sisters, you know it’s true: only siblings are partners for life. Parents go early. Children come late, when we’re already stamped and made. Siblings are there from the get go.

Brothers and sisters who challenge, protect, torment, defend. Who listen, scold, goad, counsel. Who know you. Some are close. Some are distant. They stamp you either way. For better, for worse, for life.

Organic family. Blended family. You could call it the sibling effect.

This hour On Point: Siblings, and how they shape us, in childhood and beyond.

-Tom Ashbrook


Jeff Kluger, author, “The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us;” senior editor, Time magazine

Laurie Kramer, clinical psychologist;professor of Applied Family Studies and founding director the Family Resiliency Center, University of Illinois in Urbana

From Tom’s Reading List

Kirkus Reviews “Masterfully weaving anecdotal passages with academic research and scientific data, the author thoroughly examines the many manifestations of the simple brother-brother, sister-sister or brother-sister relationship, and the dynamic within each.”

The Washington Post “That’s what this volume is about: the unchosen yet powerful intertwined relationships that make up the unit commonly called “sibs.” Our husbands and wives come relatively late into our lives, as do our own children, but siblings are witness to the whole, shared journey.”

Music Played During The Hour:

First Break: “Brothers” by Dean Brody
Second Break: “Sisters” by Anastasia Barzee & Meredith Patterson

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