De facto

For other uses, see De facto (disambiguation).

In law and government, de facto (/deɪ ˈfæktoʊ/ or /di ˈfæktoʊ/[1]; Latin: de facto, “in fact”; Latin pronunciation: [deː ˈfaktoː]) describes practices that exist in reality, even if not legally recognised by official laws.[2][3][4] It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with de jure (“in law”), which refers to things that happen according to law. Unofficial customs that are widely accepted are sometimes called de facto standards.


  • 1 Examples
    • 1.1 Segregation (during the Civil Rights era in the United States)
    • 1.2 Standards
    • 1.3 National languages
    • 1.4 Politics
  • 2 Other uses
    • 2.1 Relationships
    • 2.2 Relationships not recognised outside Australia
    • 2.3 Non-marital relationship contract
    • 2.4 Family law – custody
  • 3 Other uses of the term
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References


Segregation (during the Civil Rights era in the United States)[edit]

De facto racial discrimination and segregation in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s was simply discrimination that was not segregation by law (de jure).

Jim Crow laws, which were enacted in the 1870s, brought legal racial segregation against black Americans residing in the American South. These laws were legally ended in 1964 by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[5][6][7]

Continued practices of expecting black people to ride in the back of buses or to step aside onto the street if not enough room was present for a white person and “separate but equal” facilities are instances of de facto segregation. The NAACP fought for the de jure law to be upheld and for de facto segregation practices to be abolished.

Public schools in any region of the US may be de facto racially segregated (or nearly so) simply because they are in neighbourhoods whose residents are all, or nearly all, of one race (such as urban ghettos or conversely, affluent suburbs).

This is opposed to de jure segregation, which prevailed in the American South and border states through the 1960s. Under de jure segregation, the law provided entirely separate schools for black and white students, which they legally had to attend, despite in many cases actually living closer to a school designated for the other race. In many cases, the schools for black students were older, had fewer resources of all kinds, and paid their teachers less than in white schools.


Main article: De facto standard

A de facto standard is a standard (formal or informal) that has achieved a dominant position by tradition, enforcement, or market dominance. It has not necessarily received formal approval by way of a standardisation process, and may not have an official standards document.

Technical standards are usually voluntary, like ISO 9000 requirements, but may be obligatory, enforced by government norms, like drinking water quality requirements. The term “de facto standard” is used for both: to contrast obligatory standards (also known as “de jure standards”); or to express a dominant standard, when there is more than one proposed standard.

In social sciences, a voluntary standard that is also a de facto standard, is a typical solution to a coordination problem.[8]

National languages[edit]

Several countries, including Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, have a de facto national language but no de jure official national language.

Some countries have a de facto national language in addition to an official language. In Lebanon and Morocco the official language is Arabic, but an additional de facto language is French. In New Zealand, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language are de jure official languages, while English is a de facto official language.

Russian was the de facto official language of the central government and, to a large extent, republican governments of the former Soviet Union, but was not declared de jure state language until 1990. A short-lived law effected April 24, 1990, installed Russian as the sole de jure official language of the Union.[9]


Further information: De facto state and De facto embassy

A de facto government is a government wherein all the attributes of sovereignty have, by usurpation, been transferred from those who had been legally invested with them to others, who, sustained by a power above the forms of law, claim to act and do really act in their stead.[10]

In politics, a de facto leader of a country or region is one who has assumed authority, regardless of whether by lawful, constitutional, or legitimate means; very frequently, the term is reserved for those whose power is thought by some faction to be held by unlawful, unconstitutional, or otherwise illegitimate means, often because it had deposed a previous leader or undermined the rule of a current one. De facto leaders sometimes do not hold a constitutional office and may exercise power informally.

Not all dictators are de facto rulers. For example, Augusto Pinochet of Chile initially came to power as the chairperson of a military junta, which briefly made him de facto leader of Chile, but he later amended the nation’s constitution and made himself president for life, making him the formal and legal ruler of Chile. Similarly, Saddam Hussein’s formal rule of Iraq is often recorded as beginning in 1979, the year he assumed the Presidency of Iraq. However, his de facto rule of the nation began earlier: during his time as vice president, he exercised a great deal of power at the expense of the elderly Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, the de jure president.

In Argentina, the successive military coups that overthrew constitutional governments installed de facto governments in 1930–1932, 1943–1946, 1955–1958, 1966–1973 and 1976–1983, the last of which combined the powers of the presidential office with those of the National Congress. The subsequent legal analysis of the validity of such actions led to the formulation of a doctrine of the de facto governments, a case law (precedential) formulation which essentially said that the actions and decrees of past de facto governments, although not rooted in legal legitimacy when taken, remained binding until and unless such time as they were revoked or repealed de jure by a subsequent legitimate government.

That doctrine was nullified by the constitutional reform of 1994. Article 36 states:

  • (1) This Constitution shall rule even when its observance is interrupted by acts of force against the institutional order and the democratic system. These acts shall be irreparably null.
  • (2) Their authors shall be punished with the penalty foreseen in Section 29, disqualified in perpetuity from holding public offices and excluded from the benefits of pardon and commutation of sentences.
  • (3) Those who, as a consequence of these acts, were to assume the powers foreseen for the authorities of this Constitution or for those of the provinces, shall be punished with the same penalties and shall be civil and criminally liable for their acts. The respective actions shall not be subject to prescription.
  • (4) All citizens shall have the right to oppose resistance to those committing the acts of force stated in this section.
  • (5) He who, procuring personal enrichment, incurs in serious fraudulent offense against the Nation shall also attempt subversion against the democratic system, and shall be disqualified to hold public office for the term specified by law.
  • (6) Congress shall enact a law on public ethics which shall rule the exercise of public office.

In 1526, after seizing power Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi made his brother, Umar Din, the de jure Sultan of the Adal Sultanate. Ahmad, however, was in all practice the de facto Sultan.[11] Some other notable true de facto leaders have been Deng Xiaoping of the People’s Republic of China and General Manuel Noriega of Panama. Both of these men exercised nearly all control over their respective nations for many years despite not having either legal constitutional office or the legal authority to exercise power. These individuals are today commonly recorded as the “leaders” of their respective nations; recording their legal, correct title would not give an accurate assessment of their power. Terms like strongman or dictator are often used to refer to de facto rulers of this sort. In the Soviet Union, after Vladimir Lenin incapacitated from a stroke in 1923, Joseph Stalin—who, as General Secretary of the Communist Party had the power to appoint anyone he chose to top party positions—eventually emerged as leader of the Party and the legitimate government. Until the 1936 Soviet Constitution officially declared the Party “…the vanguard of the working people”, thus legitimising Stalin’s leadership, Stalin ruled the USSR as the de facto dictator.

Another example of a de facto ruler is someone who is not the actual ruler but exerts great or total influence over the true ruler, which is quite common in monarchies. Some examples of these de facto rulers are Empress Dowager Cixi of China (for son Tongzhi and nephew Guangxu Emperors), Prince Alexander Menshikov (for his former lover Empress Catherine I of Russia), Cardinal Richelieu of France (for Louis XIII) and Queen Marie Caroline of Naples and Sicily (for her husband King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies).

The term “de facto head of state” is sometimes used to describe the office of a governor general in the Commonwealth realms, since a holder of that office has the same responsibilities in their country as the de jure head of state (the sovereign) does within the United Kingdom.

In the Westminster system of government, executive authority is often split between a de jure executive authority of a head of state and a de facto executive authority of a prime minister and cabinet who implement executive powers in the name of the de jure executive authority. In the United Kingdom, the Sovereign is the de jure executive authority, even though executive decisions are made by the indirectly elected Prime Minister and her Cabinet on the Sovereign’s behalf, hence the term Her Majesty’s Government.

The de facto boundaries of a country are defined by the area that its government is actually able to enforce its laws in, and to defend against encroachments by other countries that may also claim the same territory de jure. The Durand Line is an example of a de facto boundary. As well as cases of border disputes, de facto boundaries may also arise in relatively unpopulated areas in which the border was never formally established or in which the agreed border was never surveyed and its exact position is unclear. The same concepts may also apply to a boundary between provinces or other subdivisions of a federal state.

Other uses[edit]

A de facto monopoly is a system where many suppliers of a product are allowed, but the market is so completely dominated by one that the others might as well not exist. The related terms oligopoly and monopsony are similar in meaning and this is the type of situation that antitrust laws are intended to eliminate.


A domestic partner outside marriage is referred to as a de facto husband or wife by some authorities.[12] In Australia and New Zealand, the phrase “de facto” by itself has become a colloquial term for one’s domestic partner.[13] In Australian law, it is the legally recognized, committed relationship of a couple living together (opposite-sex or same-sex).[14] De facto unions are defined in the federal Family Law Act 1975.[15] De facto relationships provide couples who are living together on a genuine domestic basis with many of the same rights and benefits as married couples. Two people can become a de facto couple by entering into a registered relationship (i.e.: civil union or domestic partnership) or by being assessed as such by the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.[16] Couples who are living together are generally recognised as a de facto union and thus able to claim many of the rights and benefits of a married couple, even if they have not registered or officially documented their relationship,[17] although this may vary by state. It has been noted that it is harder to prove de facto relationship status, particularly in the case of the death of one of the partners.[18]

In April 2014, a federal court judge ruled that a heterosexual couple who had a child and lived together for 13 years were not in a de facto relationship and thus the court had no jurisdiction to divide up their property under family law following a request for separation. In his ruling, the judge stated “de facto relationship(s) may be described as ‘marriage like’ but it is not a marriage and has significant differences socially, financially and emotionally.”[19]

The above sense of de facto is related to the relationship between common law traditions and formal (statutory, regulatory, civil) law, and common-law marriages. Common law norms for settling disputes in practical situations, often worked out over many generations to establishing precedent, are a core element informing decision making in legal systems around the world. Because its early forms originated in England in the Middle Ages, this is particularly true in Anglo-American legal traditions and in former colonies of the British Empire, while also playing a role in some countries that have mixed systems with significant admixtures of civil law.

Relationships not recognised outside Australia[edit]

Due to Australian federalism, de facto partnerships can only be legally recognised whilst the couple lives within a state in Australia. This is because the power to legislate on de facto matters relies on referrals by States to the Commonwealth in accordance with Section 51(xxxvii) of the Australian Constitution, where it states the new federal law can only be applied back within a state.[20][21] There must be a state nexus between the de facto relationship itself and the Australian state.[22]

If an Australian de facto couple moves out of a state, they do not take the state with them and the new federal law is tied to the territorial limits of a state. The legal status and rights and obligations of the de facto or unmarried couple would then be recognised by the laws of the country where they are ordinarily resident. See the section on Family Court of Australia for further explanation on jurisdiction on de facto relationships.

This is unlike marriage and “matrimonial causes” which are recognised by sections 51(xxi) and (xxii) of the Constitution of Australia[23] and internationally by marriage law and conventions, Hague Convention on Marriages (1978).[24]

Non-marital relationship contract[edit]

A de facto relationship is comparable to non-marital relationship contracts (sometimes called “palimony agreements”) and certain limited forms of domestic partnership, which are found in many jurisdictions throughout the world.

A de facto Relationship is not comparable to common-law marriage, which is a fully legal marriage that has merely been contracted in an irregular way (including by habit and repute). Only nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia still permit common-law marriage; but common law marriages are otherwise valid and recognised by and in all jurisdictions whose rules of comity mandate the recognition of any marriage that was legally formed in the jurisdiction where it was contracted.

Family law – custody[edit]

De facto joint custody is comparable to the joint legal decision-making authority a married couple has over their child(ren) in many jurisdictions (Canada as an example). Upon separation, each parent maintains de facto joint custody, until such time a court order awards custody, either sole or joint.[25]

Other uses of the term[edit]

In finance, the World Bank has a pertinent definition:

A “de facto government” comes into, or remains in, power by means not provided for in the country’s constitution, such as a coup d’état, revolution, usurpation, abrogation or suspension of the constitution.[26]

A de facto state of war is a situation where two nations are actively engaging, or are engaged, in aggressive military actions against the other without a formal declaration of war.

In engineering, de facto technology is a system in which the intellectual property and know-how is privately held. Usually only the owner of the technology manufactures the related equipment. Meanwhile, a standard technology consists of systems that have been publicly released to a certain degree so that anybody can manufacture equipment supporting the technology. For instance, in cell phone communications, CDMA1X is a de facto technology, while GSM is a standard technology.

See also[edit]

  • List of Latin phrases


  • ^ Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. S.v. “de facto.” Retrieved January 12 2018 from
  • ^ “de facto”. Retrieved 25 February 2017. 
  • ^ See I. 3. “de”. Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989. 
  • ^ Harper, Douglas. “de facto”. Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  • ^ Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • ^ Woodward, C. Vann; McFeely, William S. (2001). The Strange Career of Jim Crow. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-19-514689-1. 
  • ^ King, Desmond (1995). Separate and Unequal: Black Americans and the US Federal Government. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-19-828016-5. 
  • ^ Edna Ullmann-Margalit: The Emergence of Norms, Oxford Un. Press, 1977. (or Clarendon Press 1978)
  • ^ “USSR Law “On the Languages of the Peoples of USSR”” (in Russian). April 24, 1990. Archived from the original on 2009-06-18. 
  • ^ 30 Am Jur 181. Law Dictionary, James A. Ballentine, Second Edition, 1948, p. 345.
  • ^ “Aḥmad Grāñ”. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  • ^ Walker Lenore E. “Battered Woman Syndrome. Empirical Findings.” Violence and Exploitation Against Women and Girls, November 2006, p. 142.
  • ^ Gulliver, Katrina (31 January 2003). “De facto is a defective description – just say living in sin”. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2016. I am curious about the use of the term “de facto”. It is an adjective meaning “in fact” – as opposed to “in law”. It is used by Australian journalists when describing (other people’s) domestic partners. I have never heard anyone say “my de facto”. It is a brief way of saying “living with someone but not actually married”. Despite being an adjective, it never seems to be used with a noun, but on its own… 
  • ^ “What are your rights when a de facto relationship ends?”. ABC News. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  • ^ “Family Law Act 1975 – Sect. 4AA”. 
  • ^ “De facto Relationships”. Family Court of Australia. 
  • ^ “De facto Relationships”. The Law Society of New South Wales. 
  • ^ Elphick, Liam. “Do same-sex couples really have the same rights as married couples?”. SBS News. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  • ^ “De facto couples have differences to married counterparts, judge says”. The Australian. 23 April 2014. 
  • ^ French, Justice (Feb 2003). “The Referral of State Powers Cooperative Federalism lives?”. Western Australia Law Review. .
  • ^ Thomas (2007) 233 CLR 307, [208] (Kirby J).
  • ^ See sections 90RG, 90SD and 90SK, section 90RA, of the Family Law Act.
  • ^ Section 51, Australian Constitution
  • ^ Hague Convention on Marriages 1978
  • ^ What you should know about Family Law in Ontario
  • ^ “OP 7.30 – Dealings with De Facto Governments”. Operational Manual. The World Bank. July 2001. Retrieved 2010-11-28. 

  • The Relationship

    The Relationship is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California, United States, founded in 2007 by Weezer guitarist Brian Bell. In 2010, Bell released the first Relationship album and has since performed and recorded with a revolving cast of players and collaborators.

    The band’s 2015 single, “Oh Allen” (Burger Records), garnered praise from Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Alternative Press, and Rolling Stone. That year, the band also landed coveted spots at Burgerama 4 and the Sundance Film Festival.

    The band currently consists of Brian Bell (guitar and vocals), Jon LaRue (bass), Justin Goings (drums) and Brandon Graham (lead guitar).


    • 1 First album
    • 2 Second album
    • 3 Discography
    • 4 References
    • 5 External links

    First album[edit]

    Recording of The Relationship’s first album is taking place at Bell’s private home studio in the city of Los Angeles on an analog 8 track. Sean Lennon mentioned in a recent interview that he will appear with Bell on The Relationship’s debut record.[1] Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo and Bell co-wrote a song together for the project titled “Hand to Hold,” however, Bell has stated he that does not think it will be on their debut album.[2]

    Bell has posted twenty songs to date on the band’s Myspace page: “You Rock My Heart,” “Please Help Me,” “Something More,” “Together Tomorrow,” “Thought I Knew,” “Happiness,” “Amy Magazine,” “3rd Gnossiennes,” “In Love with Love,” “Are You Gonna Be?,” “Hand to Hold,” “Will I Ever See Her Again?,” “Mother Night,” “Ugly Things,” “Mow the Lawn,” “Young Temptations,” “Mistake Maker,” “Sweet on You,” “Oh Allen,” and “Clown Song.”

    Two versions of “Are You Gonna Be?, “Hand To Hold”, “Mother Night, “Please Help Me, “Something More, “Thought I Knew”, “Together Tomorrow,” and “Will I Ever See Her Again?” were posted.

    “Hand to Hold” is a reworked version of the Weezer song “Private Message,” co-written by Rivers Cuomo. Bell asked Cuomo if he could take a stab at the song since Weezer never officially released it.

    The band debuted some new songs at their first show on December 15 at Kilby Court in Salt Lake City, Utah . The debut record is nearly complete.

    In a December 18, 2007 update the following was posted: “According to Brian,his other band The Relationship is back on track with some fresh faces in the mix and new recordings are in the pipeline.”

    “Thought I Knew” was re-worked and rerecorded by Weezer for their 2008 self-titled album, although Brian claims the Relationship version will be included on the Relationship album. The Relationship opened for Weezer on three California shows on their 2008 Troublemaker Tour, with Bell pulling double duty with both bands.

    The mixing of The Relationship’s debut album was finished on October 29, 2008. On November 17, 2010, the cover art for The Relationship’s self-titled debut was revealed via the band’s Facebook page. It was released digitally on Amazon and iTunes on November 30, 2010. Brian Bell also signed and notarized physical copies for fans at Weezer’s Memories Tour shows.

    Second album[edit]

    The Relationship’s second album, Clara Obscura, was released on April 18, 2017.


    Studio albums


    • “Oh Allen” / “Young Temptations” – Single (2015)
    • “Break me Open” – Single (2017)


  • ^ “09/24/06 I want people to be afraid of how much they love me”. Archived from the original on 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  • ^ “Brian Bell Fan Interview 2006”. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  • External links[edit]

    • Stereokill Interview: Brian discusses The Relationship, Feb 19th, 2009

    Sibling connection

    Siblings play a unique role in one another’s lives that simulates the companionship of parents as well as the influence and assistance of friends.[1] Because siblings often grow up in the same household, they have a large amount of exposure to one another, like other members of the immediate family. However, though a sibling relationship can have both hierarchical and reciprocal elements,[2] this relationship tends to be more egalitarian and symmetrical than with family members of other generations. Furthermore, sibling relationships often reflect the overall condition of cohesiveness within a family.[3]

    Siblings in Bhutan

    Siblings generally spend more time with each other during childhood than they do with parents or anyone else, and sibling relationships are often the longest-lasting relationship in individuals’ lives.[2][4]

    Incest between siblings is most often short-term innocent sexual experimentation by children, but has been an intentional practice among some historical ruling families.


    • 1 Cultural differences
    • 2 Throughout the lifespan
      • 2.1 Infancy and childhood
      • 2.2 Adolescence
      • 2.3 Adulthood and old age
    • 3 Sibling rivalry
      • 3.1 Causes
        • 3.1.1 Psychoanalytic view
        • 3.1.2 Parent-offspring conflict theory
        • 3.1.3 Other psychological approaches
      • 3.2 Throughout life
      • 3.3 Prevention
    • 4 Sibling marriage and incest
      • 4.1 Among adults
      • 4.2 Among children
    • 5 See also
    • 6 References

    Cultural differences[edit]

    The content and context of sibling relationships varies between cultures.[5] In industrialized cultures, sibling relationships are typically discretionary in nature. People are encouraged to stay in contact and cooperate with their brothers and sisters, but this is not an obligation. Older siblings in these cultures are sometimes given responsibilities to watch over a younger sibling, but this is only occasional, with parents taking on the primary role of caretaker. In contrast, close sibling relationships in nonindustrialized cultures are often obligatory, with strong cultural norms prompting cooperation and close proximity between siblings. In India, the brother-sister sibling relationship is so cherished that a festival is held in observance called Rakhi. At this celebration, the sister presents the brother with a woven bracelet to show their lasting bond even when they have raised their own families.[6] These cultures also extend caregiving roles to older siblings, who are constantly expected to watch over younger siblings.

    Throughout the lifespan[edit]

    Infancy and childhood[edit]

    A relationship begins with the introduction of two siblings to one another. Older siblings are often made aware of their soon-to-be younger brother or sister at some point during their mother’s pregnancy, which may help facilitate adjustment for the older child and result in a better immediate relationship with the newborn.[7] Early in development, interactions can contribute to the older sibling’s social aptitude and cognitively stimulate the younger sibling.[8] Older siblings even adapt their speech to accommodate for the low language comprehension of the younger sibling, much like parents do with baby talk.[9]

    The attachment theory used to describe an infant’s relationship to a primary caregiver may also be applied to siblings. If an infant finds an older sibling to be responsive and sees him or her as a source of comfort, a supportive bond may form.[10] On the contrary, a negative bond may form if the older sibling acts in an aggressive, neglectful, or otherwise negative manner. Sibling attachment is further accentuated in the absence of a primary caregiver, when the younger sibling must rely on the older one for security and support.[11]

    Even as siblings age and develop, there is considerable stability in their relationships from infancy through middle childhood, during which positive and negative interactions remain constant in frequency.[12] Still, this time period marks great changes for both siblings. Assuming an age gap of only a few years, this marks the time when the older sibling is beginning school, meeting peers, and making friends. This shift in environment reduces both children’s access to one another and depletes the older sibling’s dependency on the younger for social support, which can now be found outside the relationship. When the younger sibling begins school, the older sibling may help him or her become acclimated and give advice on the new struggles that come with being a student. At the same time, the older sibling is also available to answer questions and discuss topics that the younger sibling may not feel comfortable bringing up to a parent.[13]


    The nature of sibling relationships changes from childhood to adolescence. While young adolescents often provide one another with warmth and support,[14] this period of development is also marked by increased conflict[15] and emotional distance.[16] However, this effect varies based on sex of siblings. Mixed-sex sibling pairs often experience more drastic decreases in intimacy during adolescence while same-sex sibling pairs experience a slight rise in intimacy during early adolescence followed by a slight drop.[17] In both instances, intimacy once again increases during young adulthood. This trend may be the result of an increased emphasis on peer relationships during adolescence. Often, adolescents from the same family adopt differing lifestyles which further contributes to emotional distance between one another.[18]

    Siblings may influence one another in much the same way that peers do, especially during adolescence. These relationships may even compensate for the negative psychological impact of not having friends[19] and may provide individuals with a sense of self-worth.[20] Older siblings can effectively model good behaviour for younger siblings. For instance, there is evidence that communication about safe sex with a sibling may be just as effective as with a parent.[21] Conversely, an older sibling may encourage risky sexual behaviour by modelling a sexually advanced lifestyle, and younger siblings of teen parents are more likely to become teen parents themselves.[19]

    Research on adolescents suggests positive sibling influences can promote healthy and adaptive functioning [22][23][24] while negative interactions can increase vulnerabilities and problem behaviours.[25][26] Intimate and positive sibling interactions are an important source of support for adolescents and can promote the development of prosocial behaviour.[27] However, when sibling relationships are characterized by conflict and aggression, they can promote delinquency, and antisocial behaviour among peers.[28]

    Adulthood and old age[edit]

    When siblings reach adulthood, it is more likely that they will no longer live in the same place and that they will become involved in jobs, hobbies, and romantic interests that they do not share and therefore cannot use to relate to one another. In this stage the common struggles of school and being under the strict jurisdiction of parents is dissolved. Despite these factors, siblings often maintain a relationship through adulthood and even old age.[29] Proximity is a large factor in maintaining contact between siblings; those who live closer to one another are more likely to visit each other frequently. In addition, gender also plays a significant role.[30] Sisters are most likely to maintain contact with one another, followed by mixed-gender dyads. Brothers are least likely to contact one another frequently.

    Communication is especially important when siblings do not live near one another. Communication may take place in person, over the phone, by mail, and with increasing frequency, by means of online communication such as email and social networking. Often, siblings will communicate indirectly through a parent or a mutual friend of relative.[31] Between adult and elderly siblings, conversations tend to focus on family happenings and reflections of the past.[32]

    In adulthood, siblings still perform a role similar to that of friends.[5] Friends and siblings are often similar in age, with any age gap seeming even less significant in adulthood. Furthermore, both relationships are often egalitarian in nature, although unlike sibling relationships, friendships are voluntary. The specific roles of each relationship also differ, especially later in life. For elderly siblings, friends tend to act as companions while siblings play the roles of confidants.[33]

    It is difficult to make long-term assumptions about adult sibling relationships, as they may rapidly change in response to individual or shared life events.[34][35] Marriage of one sibling may either strengthen or weaken the sibling bond. The same can be said for change of location, birth of a child, and numerous other life events. However, divorce or widowhood of one sibling or death of a close family member most often results in increased closeness and support between siblings.

    Sibling rivalry[edit]

    Main article: Sibling rivalry

    Sibling rivalry describes the competitive relationship or animosity between siblings, blood-related or not. Often competition is the result of a desire for greater attention from parents. However, even the most conscientious parents can expect to see sibling rivalry in play to a degree. Children tend to naturally compete with each other for not only attention from parents but for recognition in the world.

    Siblings generally spend more time together during childhood than they do with parents. The sibling bond is often complicated and is influenced by factors such as parental treatment, birth order, personality, and people and experiences outside the family.[36] According to child psychologist Sylvia Rimm, sibling rivalry is particularly intense when children are very close in age and of the same gender, or where one child is intellectually gifted.[37] Sibling rivalry involves aggression and insults, especially between siblings close in age.


    There are many things that can influence and shape sibling rivalry. According to Kyla Boyse from the University of Michigan, each child in a family competes to define who they are as individuals and want to show that they are separate from their siblings. Children may feel they are getting unequal amounts of their parents’ attention, discipline, and responsiveness. Children fight more in families where there is no understanding that fighting is not an acceptable way to resolve conflicts, and no alternative ways of handling such conflicts. Stress in the parents’ and children’s lives can create more conflict and increase sibling rivalry.[38]

    Psychoanalytic view[edit]

    Sigmund Freud saw the sibling relationship as an extension of the Oedipus complex, where brothers were in competition for their mother’s attention and sisters for their father’s.[39] For example, in the case of Little Hans, Freud postulated that the young boy’s fear of horses was related to jealousy of his baby sister, as well as the boy’s desire to replace his father as his mother’s mate. This view has been largely discredited by modern research.

    Parent-offspring conflict theory[edit]

    Formulated by Robert Trivers, parent-offspring theory is important for understanding sibling dynamics and parental decision-making. Because parents are expected to invest whatever is necessary to ensure the survival of their offspring, it is generally thought that parents will allocate the maximum amount of resources available, possibly to their own detriment and that of other potential offspring.[40] While parent are investing as much as possible to their offspring, offspring may at the same time attempt to obtain more resources than the parents are able to give to maximize its own reproductive success. Therefore, there is a conflict between the wants of the individual offspring and what the parent is able or willing to give.[40] An extension of Trivers’ theory leads to predict that it will pay siblings to compete intensely with one another. It can pay to be selfish even to the detriment of not only one’s parents but also to one’s siblings, as long as the total fitness benefits of doing do outweigh the total costs.[41]

    Other psychological approaches[edit]

    Alfred Adler saw siblings as “striving for significance” within the family and felt that birth order was an important aspect of personality development. The feeling of being replaced or supplanted is often the cause of jealousy on the part of the older sibling.[42] In fact, psychologists and researchers today endorse the influence of birth order, as well as age and gender constellations, on sibling relationships. A child’s personality can also have an effect on how much sibling rivalry will occur in a home. Some kids seem to naturally accept changes, while others may be naturally competitive, and exhibit this nature long before a sibling enters the home.[42] However, parents are seen as capable of having an important influence on whether they are competitive or not.[43]

    David Levy introduced the term “sibling rivalry” in 1941, claiming that for an older sibling “the aggressive response to the new baby is so typical that it is safe to say it is a common feature of family life.” [44] Researchers today generally endorse this view, noting that parents can ameliorate this response by being vigilant to favoritism and by taking appropriate preventative steps.[45] In fact, say researchers, the ideal time to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of supportive relationships between siblings is during the months prior to the new baby’s arrival.[46]

    Throughout life[edit]

    According to observational studies by Judy Dunn, children as early as one may be able to exhibit self-awareness and perceive difference in parental treatment between his- or herself and a sibling and early impressions can shape a lifetime relationship with the younger sibling.[36] From 18 months on siblings can understand family rules and know how to comfort and be kind to each other. By 3 years old, children have a sophisticated grasp of social rules, can evaluate themselves in relation to their siblings, and know how to adapt to circumstances within the family.[36] Whether they have the drive to adapt, to get along with a sibling whose goals and interests may be different from their own, can make the difference between a cooperative relationship and a rivalrous one.[36]

    Studies have further shown that the greatest sibling rivalry tends to be shown between brothers, and the least between sisters. Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule. What makes brother/brother ties so rivalrous? Deborah Gold has launched a new study that is not yet completed. But she has found a consistent theme running through the interviews she’s conducted thus far. “The thing that rides through with brothers that doesn’t come across in other sibling pairs is this notion of parental and societal comparison. Somehow with boys, it seems far more natural to compare them, especially more than with sister/brother pairs. Almost from day one, the fundamental developmental markers–who gets a tooth first, who crawls, walks, speaks first–are held up on a larger-than-life scale. And this comparison appears to continue from school to college to the workplace. Who has the biggest house, who makes the most money, drives the best car are constant topics of discussion. In our society, men are supposed to be achievement-oriented, aggressive. They’re supposed to succeed.” [36]

    Sibling rivalry often continues throughout childhood and can be very frustrating and stressful to parents.[38] Adolescents fight for the same reasons younger children fight, but they are better equipped physically and intellectually to hurt and be hurt by each other. Physical and emotional changes cause pressures in the teenage years, as do changing relationships with parents and friends. Fighting with siblings as a way to get parental attention may increase in adolescence.[47] One study found that the age group 10 to 15 reported the highest level of competition between siblings.[48]

    However, the degree of sibling rivalry and conflict is not constant. Longitudinal studies looking at the degree of sibling rivalry throughout childhood from Western societies suggest that, over time, sibling relationships become more egalitarian and this suggest less conflict.[49] Yet, this effect is moderated by birth order: Older siblings report more or less the same level of conflict and rivalry throughout their childhood. In contrast, young siblings report a peak in conflict and rivalry around young adolescence and a drop in late adolescence. The decline in late adolescence makes sense from an evolutionary perspective: Once resources cease and/ or individuals have started their own reproductive career, it makes little sense for sibling to continue fierce competition over resources that do not affect their reproductive success anymore.[50]

    Sibling rivalry can continue into adulthood and sibling relationships can change dramatically over the years. Events such as a parent’s illness may bring siblings closer together, whereas marriage may drive them apart, particularly if the in-law relationship is strained. Approximately one-third of adults describe their relationship with siblings as rivalrous or distant. However, rivalry often lessens over time. At least 80 percent of siblings over age 60 enjoy close ties.[36]


    Parents can reduce the opportunity for rivalry by refusing to compare or typecast their children,[51] teaching the children positive ways to get attention from each other and from the parent, planning fun family activities together, and making sure each child has enough time and space of their own.[38] They can also give each child individual attention, encourage teamwork, refuse to hold up one child as a role model for the others, and avoid favoritism.[52] It is also important for parents to invest in time spent together as a whole family. Children who have a strong sense of being part of a family are likely to see siblings as an extension of themselves. However, according to Sylvia Rimm, although sibling rivalry can be reduced it is unlikely to be entirely eliminated. In moderate doses, rivalry may be a healthy indication that each child is assertive enough to express his or her differences with other siblings.[37]

    Weihe [53] suggests that four criteria should be used to determine if questionable behavior is rivalry or sibling abuse. First, one must determine if the questionable behavior is age appropriate: e.g., children use different conflict-resolution tactics during various developmental stages. Second, one must determine if the behavior is an isolated incident or part of an enduring pattern: abuse is, by definition, a long-term pattern rather than occasional disagreements. Third, one must determine if there is an “aspect of victimization” to the behavior: rivalry tends to be incident-specific, reciprocal and obvious to others, while abuse is characterized by secrecy and an imbalance of power. Fourth, one must determine the goal of the questionable behavior: the goal of abuse tends to be embarrassment or domination of the victim. Parents should remember that sibling rivalry today may someday result in siblings being cut off from each other when the parents are gone. Continuing to encourage family togetherness, treating siblings equitably, and using family counseling to help arrest sibling rivalry that is excessive may ultimately serve children in their adult years.

    Sibling marriage and incest[edit]

    See also: Adelphogamy and Genetic sexual attraction

    While cousin marriage is legal in most countries, and avunculate marriage is legal in many, sexual relations between siblings are considered incestuous almost universally. Innate sexual aversion between siblings forms due to close association in childhood, in what is known as the Westermarck effect. Children who grow up together do not normally develop sexual attraction, even if they are unrelated, and conversely, siblings who were separated at a young age may develop sexual attraction. Thus, many cases of sibling incest, including accidental incest, concern siblings who were separated at birth or at a very young age.[54] One study from New England has shown that roughly 10% of males and 15% of females had experienced some form of sexual contact with a brother or sister, with the most common form being fondling or touching of one another’s genitalia.[55]

    Among adults[edit]

    Further information: Laws regarding incest, Incest between twins, Incest § Between childhood siblings, and Incest § Between adult siblings

    Sexual relations between siblings are illegal in many countries. The laws have come under attack in recent years as defining a victimless crime, and violating the human rights of siblings who wish to have sexual relations as consenting adults.

    In 2008, a 31-year-old man of Saxony, Germany, who had been imprisoned for three years for fathering four children with his sister appealed (unsuccessfully) to the European Court of Human Rights.[citation needed] In a number of European countries such as Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain, marriage between siblings remains prohibited, but incest between siblings is no longer prosecuted.[56]

    A historical marriage between full siblings was that between John V, Count of Armagnac and Isabelle d’Armagnac, dame des Quatre-Vallées, c. 1450. The provided papal dispensation for this union was declared forged in 1457.[57] In antiquity, Laodice IV, a Seleucid princess, priestess, and queen, married all three of her brothers in turn. Sibling marriage was especially frequent in Roman Egypt, and probably even the preferred norm among the nobility.[58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65] In most cases, marriage of siblings in Roman Egypt was a result of the religious belief in divinity and maintaining purity. Based on the model from the myth of Osiris and Isis, it was considered necessary for a god to marry a goddess and vice versa. This led to Osiris marrying his sister Isis due to limited options of gods and goddesses to marry. In order to preserve the divinity of ruling families, siblings of the royal families would marry each other.[66] Sibling marriage is also common among the Zande people of Central Africa.[67] John M. Goggin and William C. Sturtevant (1964) listed eight societies which generally allowed sibling marriage, and thirty-five societies where sibling marriage was permissible among the upper classes (nobility) only.

    Among children[edit]

    While a taboo topic in many cultures, sexual contact between siblings can be part of normal childhood curiosity and development. According to Cavanagh, Johnson & Friend (1995), between forty and seventy-five percent of children will engage in some sort of sexual behavior before reaching 13 years of age. In these situations, children are exploring each other’s bodies while also exploring gender roles and behaviors, and their sexual experimentation does not indicate that these children are child sex offenders. As siblings are generally close in age and locational proximity, it stands to reason that the opportunity for sexual exploration between siblings is fairly high – and that, if simply based on mutual curiosity, then these activities are not harmful or distressing, either in childhood or later in adulthood (Borgis, 2002). According to Reinisch (1990), studying early sexual behavior generally, over half of all six- and seven-year-old boys have engaged in sex play with other boys, and more than a third of them with girls, while more than a third of six- and seven-year-old girls have engaged in such play with both other girls and with boys. This play includes playing doctor, mutual touching, and attempts at simulated, non-penetrative intercourse. Reinisch views such play as part of a normal progression from the sensual elements of bonding with parents, to masturbation, and then to sex play with others. By the age of eight or nine, according to Reinisch, children become aware that sexual arousal is a specific type of erotic sensation, and will seek these pleasurable experiences through various sights, self-touches, and fantasy, so that earlier generalized sex play shifts into more deliberate and intentional arousal.

    Abusive incestuous relationships between siblings can have adverse effects on the parties involved. Such abuse can leave victims detrimentally hindered in developmental processes, such as those necessary for interpersonal relations, and can be the cause for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in the victim’s adult life.[68] Definitions used have varied widely. Child sexual abuse between siblings is defined by the (US) National Task Force on Juvenile Sexual Offending as: sexual acts initiated by one sibling toward another without the other’s consent, by use of force or coercion, or where there is a power differential between the siblings. In Caffaro & Conn-Caffaro (1998), sibling child sexual abuse is defined as “sexual behavior between siblings that is not age appropriate, not transitory, and not motivated by developmentally, mutually appropriate curiosity”. When child sexual experimentation is carried out with siblings, some researchers, e.g. Bank and Kahn (1982), do consider it incest, but those researchers who do use that term distinguish between abusive incest and non-abusive incest. Bank and Kahn say that abusive incest is power-oriented, sadistic, exploitative, and coercive, often including deliberate physical or mental abuse.

    Views of young sibling sexual contact may be affected by more general views regarding sexuality and minors:

    • Finkelhor and Hotaling (1984)[69] consider sexual contact to be abusive only under these circumstances:
      • 1. it occurs with a child less than 13 years old, and the perpetrator is more than five years older than the victim or if the child is between 13 and 16 years old, and the perpetrator is ten years older than the victim;
      • 2. coercion, force, or threat is used.
    • Laviola (1992), says that behavior that is sexually abusive of children (generally speaking) depends upon the use of power, authority, bribery, or appeal to the child’s trust or affection.[70]
    • De Jong (1989), offers four criteria to judge whether sexual behavior involving persons under 14 years old is abusive or not:
      • 1. an age difference of more than five years;
      • 2. use of force, threat, or authority;
      • 3. attempted penile penetration;
      • 4. physical injury to the victim.

    According to De Jong, if one or more of these is present, the behavior is abusive, whereas if none is present, the behavior must be considered normal sexual experimentation.[71]

    See also[edit]

    • Siblings Day


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    Relationship most often refers to:

    • Interpersonal relationship, a strong, deep, or close association or acquaintance between two or more people
    • Correlation and dependence, relationships in mathematics and statistics between two variables or sets of data
    • Semantic relationship, an ontology component
    • Romantic relationship, a connection between two people driven by love and/or sexual attraction

    Relationship or Relationships may also refer to:

    Arts and media[edit]

    • “Relationships” (As Time Goes By), an episode of the British TV series As Time Goes By
    • The Relationship, an American rock band
    • The Relationships, an English band who played at the 2009 Truck Festival
    • Relationships (BeBe & CeCe Winans album), a 1994 album by BeBe & CeCe Winans
    • Relationships (Georgie Fame album), a 2001 album by Georgie Fame
    • Relationship”, a song by Lakeside on the 1987 album Power
    • Relationship”, a song by Mumzy Stranger from his 2008 mixtape
    • Relationship”, a song by Young Thug from the 2017 album Beautiful Thugger Girls

    Other uses[edit]

    • Relationship (archaeology), the position in space of an object with respect to another

    See also[edit]

    • Affinity (disambiguation)
    • All pages with a title containing relationship
    • Entity–relationship model
    • Relation (disambiguation)