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'We've always thought that our parents had the most significant influence on our lives but scientists are now realising that our brothers and sisters might be even more important. -- The relationsh...ip with our siblings is the longest relationship most of us will ever have and, at nearly six years old, our children are learning that it comes with much love and loathing. We measured how altruistic our siblings are by giving them a cookie and their sibling a measly pretzel. Which of our children are prepared to sacrifice something they love for the sake of their flesh and blood? -- James Lyon Cachia is growing up with older sister Bernie in south London. It's been another unsettled year and Carol's ex-boyfriend has been back on the scene. James is spending more time at his grandmothers and Carol's fighting to keep the family all together. Bernie and James' experiences of the world are changing but is their relationship strong enough to hold them together? -- Temperament is more important than birth order, spacing or gender in determining the quality of our relationships. To reveal our children's personalities Dr Linda Blair asked our parents to favour one child over the other for five minutes. How did our children contend with differential treatment and what does it mean for their relationship with their brother or sister? -- In Yorkshire, super competitive William Roberts is growing up with older twins Alice and Charles. He might have made peace with his mother but now he's making Charles' life a misery. With only 18 months between them it's a very physical relationship, but William has the upper hand. His parents are keen not to intervene but could William's aggression be having a more damaging effect on Charles than they imagine? -- Siblings are torn between protecting their closest genetic relatives and competing with them for parental resources, such as love, attention and approval. When we gave our siblings an electric car with only one seat who took control? -- Het Shah is an only child growing up in Wembley with her parents and grandparents. It's a busy household but Het spends most of her time on her own. Her parents are worried they might have spoiled her because she finds it hard to share with others. Her mother has invited her sister over from India to instil the discipline they can't provide. Het's aunt is doing her best to help but is there someone else who might make all the difference? -- Alex and Ivo Lloyd-Young are identical twins from Glasgow. Having been held back a year they're ready finally to start school. It means their parents have to make the difficult decision to put them in the same or different classes. The boys have got strong ideas of their own, so who will decide? When we asked all of our children who they would turn to in some challenging situations the boys revealed some important differences in their relationship with each other. How will they cope with the threat of school? And what did Dr Alex Cutting's experiment to measure the quality of their relationship really show? -- How siblings cooperate on a shared task reveals important differences in dominance and communication. We asked our children to build a Lego house together, one using red bricks and the other using yellow to see who could pull together under pressure. -- Matthew Singleton lives with his seven-year-old brother Robert in Surrey. Their parents recognise how birth order has shaped their own lives and were keen for their children to be close in age. Although the age difference may be small, Robert takes his role as a big brother very seriously. Matthew is quick to turn to Robert when he's in trouble but when Robert faces some serious problems of his own, where does he look for help?'
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Series: Child of Our Time; Series 6
Episode 2
First transmission date: 22-01-2006
Published: 2006
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OU Digital Archive web pages.
Duration: 00:59:10
Note: Information leaflets covering the series are also available
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Producer: Dinah Lord
Contributor: Robert Winston
Publisher: BBC Open University
Link to related site: Website: http://www.open2.net/childofourtime/
Subject terms: Brothers and sisters; Child development; Child psychology; Families--Great Britain; Interpersonal relations in children
Production number: LSGB401W
Videofinder number: 7170
Available to public: no