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Advice Given to Parents on Welcoming a Second Child: A Critical Review


  • *This research was supported through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We gratefully appreciate the contributions of Cyndy Loula and Debbie Pflasterer. Portions of this article were presented at the annual conference of the National Council of Family Relations, November 2001, Minneapolis, MN.

**Department of Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, 1105 W. Nevada, Urbana IL 61801(


A review of popular press books and articles for parents published between 1975 and 2000 was conducted to delineate the areas in which the advice given to parents about the transition to a second child is consistent with or diverges from the results of relevant research. Although popular advice reflects available research in certain areas (e.g., encouraging sibling caregiving), research to substantiate other directives (e.g., sibling preparation classes) is lacking. Key research findings about how to promote harmonious sibling relationships often are not represented in popular writings. These results highlight the need for researchers and popular press writers to acknowledge their complementary roles in disseminating information.