The transition to siblinghood: psycho-social perspectives on Tom McGrath’s The Boss Baby

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Pei-Hua Chen
Ya-Huei Wang


Sibling relationships play a crucial role in children’s initiation into social life as well as their individualization. It is impossible to avoid sibling conflicts or rivalries in the transition to siblinghood. Over the course of the transition, children go through a critical reassessment of their interactions with parents, their siblings, and the outside world, learning how to resolve conflicts in a manner that is consistent with feelings of psychological security. However, excessive conflict or negativity in sibling relationships is likely to lead to poor psychological adjustment in adulthood, whereas supportive sibling relationships are likely to lead to less anxiety and g reater maturity. Using these issues as an investigative lens, the study analyzed the 2017 computer-animated film The Boss Baby as a case study in the transition to siblinghood. More specifically, the paper examined how the firstborn child Tim Templeton successfully negotiates the conflict and rivalry caused by being and having a sibling and, in the end, enjoys a warm, supportive sibling relationship with his newborn brother, Boss Baby. The study used the qualitative method and latent-content analysis as the research techniques to comprehensively examine the film and the script of The Boss Baby in order to make replicable and valid inferences from texts to realize how Tim goes through the transition of siblinghood. The study suggests the inevitability of sibling conflicts or rivalries; however, if managed appropriately, these conflicts may actually help facilitate a more positive interaction between siblings and create a healthier family life. The study may help readers, parents, or would-be parents realize how to help their children successfully manage their sibling rivalries in order to undergo the arduous transition to siblinghood, which is crucial for children to build positive and constructive social relationships later on in adulthood.


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