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Provence, S. Solnit, A.J. (1983). Development-Promoting Aspects of the Sibling Experience—Vicarious Mastery. Psychoanal. St. Child, 38:337-351.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 38:337-351

Development-Promoting Aspects of the Sibling Experience—Vicarious Mastery

Sally Provence, M.D. and Albert J. Solnit, M.D.

AS INDICATED IN THE INTRODUCTION AND THE OTHER PApers, the sibling experience is not universal, nor is it a requirement for a full expression of the human potential in the developing child. However, the sibling experience, an opportunity for enrichment and practice of social exchange, can promote or be supportive of a progressive development and touches on universal developmental tasks and accomplishments. In this paper we emphasize in theory and illustrate by observations of interactions how siblings can influence each other in positive ways. Developmental progress does not take place in a straight line. There are frustrations, regressive reactions, and disappointments. Overall, the mastery of developmental tasks and environmental challenges enables children to bear the frustration of initial failures and disappointments when instant success is not available. If there is developmental progress over time, children can tolerate some sadness and the conflicts associated with initial disappointment followed by compromise solutions.

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