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Title: Negotiating the Birth Order: Children's Experiences
Author(s): Punch, Samantha
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Editor(s): Klett-Davies, Martina
Citation: Punch S (2008) Negotiating the Birth Order: Children's Experiences. In: Klett-Davies Martina (ed.). Putting Sibling Relationships on the Map: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective. Research and Policy for the Real World, London: Family and Parenting Institute, pp. 30-49.
Keywords: siblings
birth order
Issue Date: Nov-2008
Series/Report no.: Research and Policy for the Real World
Abstract: This paper explores the ways in which children perceive the relative opportunities and constraints of their birth order position within their families by comparing and contrasting the views of oldest, middle and youngest siblings. It shows that birth order and age can be experienced at times as a constraint on sibling behaviour and at other times as a resource that can be utilised in a dynamic and creative manner. Thus, although birth order is important in shaping children’s experiences of sibship, relative benefits have to be actively maintained and limitations of each position in the sibling order are not passively accepted and are often contested. The paper argues that birth order and age are not fixed hierarchies but can be subverted, contested, resisted and negotiated through children’s everyday experiences of family life. It is based on a qualitative study of 30 families with three children between the ages of 5 and 17. In-depth individual and group interviews were conducted with 90 children from this sample of 30 families of mixed socio-economic backgrounds in central Scotland.
Rights: The publisher has granted permission for use of this book chapter in this Repository. The chapter was first published in Putting Sibling Relationships on the Map: A Multi-Disciplinary Perspective by the Family and Parenting Institute. Publisher statement: "Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any other form, or by any other means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers. This material is copyright c Family and Parenting Institute 2008 and is reproduced by permission."

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