Glossary / Lexicon
Teeter Totter Effect
Teeter Totter Effect a sibling phenomenon that contributes to the uniqueness of each child as decribed by Shulman and Mosak (1988). The sibling who finds one role space occupied will often f ind another, usually an opposite, role to fill. For example, if one child is athletic, the other child may choose to pursue drama or academics. Occassionally, when one sibling is quite successful, the other sibling believes herself incapable of competing and becomes discouraged. Out of discouragement, he/she may choose delinquent behavior to balance out the success of the sibling. This latter example illustrates how "belonging" is best conceptualized not as being accepted but as "finding a place" in the family. Being "the black sheep" of the family provides a child with a clear position and significance, even if the significance and position are achieved through opposition and conflict.