30 January 2013

A survey aimed at understanding and improving children’s relationships with their siblings is the first step in what will become a new Triple P – Positive Parenting Program.

Director of The University of Queensland's Parenting and Family Support Centre and founder of Triple P, Professor Matt Sanders said there were unique challenges facing parents of siblings.

“Sibling conflict is extremely common, and very distressing on families especially when experienced in high levels,” Professor Sanders said.

“Parents often tell us that managing conflict between their children is one of the hardest parts of the parenting role.

“Although some siblings seem to get along better than others, parents find conflict between their children a great source of distress and are often unsure whether to get involved or remain on the sidelines.

“The problem is that if sibling conflict can continue into adulthood and be a source of lifelong problems.”

UQ are looking for parents to share their experiences in raising siblings.

“We are interested in knowing what the challenges are in raising siblings, and what characteristics parents would like to promote in their children,” Professor Sanders said.

“We are also interested in whether parents feel they receive enough support to deal with challenging behaviour and what sort of extra help may be useful in managing sibling conflict.”

This is the first time Triple P researchers have addressed the issue of sibling conflict and the outcomes of the survey will help inform the development of an intervention specifically for parents who have children experiencing high levels of conflict.

“We know that there are ongoing benefits for ensuring that early intervention programs are accessible to parents,” Professor Sanders said.

“We are looking for ways to make the parenting of multiple children easier and to help parents in the task of raising their children to be happy, healthy, well-adjusted youngsters.”

Professor Sanders urged parents of siblings to take part in this important survey.

It can be accessed at www.exp.psy.uq.edu.au/siblings and is open to all parents of siblings where the children are aged between two and ten years, with no more than four years separating the children in age.

Media: For further information contact Professor Matt Sanders 07 3365 7290 or John Pickering 07 3346 8743