What Parents Learn From Experience: The First Child as a First Draft?
Version of Record online: 13 FEB 2004
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 65, Issue 3, pages 608–621, August 2003
How to Cite
Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M. and Crouter, A. C. (2003), What Parents Learn From Experience: The First Child as a First Draft?. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65: 608–621. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2003.00608.x
- Issue online: 13 FEB 2004
- Version of Record online: 13 FEB 2004
- birth order;
- family systems;
- within-family designs
This study sought evidence for the proposition that experiences with earlier-born adolescents will improve parents' interactions with and parenting of later-born adolescents. Participants were mothers, fathers, and both first- and second-born siblings from 392 families participating in a longitudinal study. To collect information on siblings' family experiences, family members were interviewed individually in their homes. During the subsequent 2 to 3 weeks, 7 evening telephone interviews were also conducted, which focused on siblings' daily activities. Findings suggest that when parent-adolescent relationships were measured at the same age for both siblings, parents experienced less conflict with their second-born as compared with their firstborn adolescent offspring and exhibited greater knowledge of their second-born offspring's daily activities as compared with their firstborns' daily experiences. These results are consistent with the notion that parents may learn from their childrearing experiences.