I have a sister. We get along great. As kids though, we fought and had our growing pains. That’s normal because we still loved each other. Science has finally caught up with the truth that having an older or younger sister makes your life better. So hooray for sisters!
The results of the 2010 study were published in The Journal of Family Psychology. It involved examining 400 families with multiple siblings; one of whom was between the ages of 10-14. Having a sister promoted positive mental health in their siblings.
The results also showed these brothers and sisters also had a greater capacity to empathize, communicate, and resolve conflicts. Laura Padilla-Walker, a professor in the university’s School of Family Life and the study’s lead author, said that even with all the fighting that may occur, “as long as they have affection, the positive will win out.”
When siblings fight, they must learn to regulate emotions. This is a crucial skill for later in life. And even though sisters and siblings argue, it’s an undeniable truth that life with a brother or sister is less lonely. It’s not shocking that girls talk and are more communicative than boys. If you have a sister, you’re more likely to talk out life’s problems.
There’s good news for the ladies too. Boys who grew up with sisters are better communicators with women in general. What’s most interesting about the study found that after the siblings’ parents have passed away, sisters do more to keep the family together.
Researchers found that people with sisters can “learn how to make up and to regain control of their emotions,” which are skills that undoubtedly serve children well in adulthood.
The revival of this study actually comes on the heels of another study released in 2018, which demonstrates that it’s not just the older kids and parents who influence and shape children as they grow. It turns out that younger siblings do too, and what’s more, they may also give their older siblings a greater chance of developing empathy.
The Canadian study followed 452 pairs of siblings, all between a year and a half and 4 years old. The researchers noted “baseline empathy” before a sibling was introduced into the home and what they found was intriguing; having a younger sibling increased the older sibling’s level of empathy.
So despite the minor hiccups or arguments you might have with your siblings, they’re just small bumps in the road. Remember your siblings will be with you through your entire life. Keep them close and your relationship strong.
Keep Reading: 20 Things You’ll Only Understand If You’re the Cool Aunt
- ‘Sisters give siblings better mental health, study shows’ BYU University Communications. Published August 01, 2010
- ‘The Development of Empathic Concern in Siblings: A Reciprocal Influence Model’ Society For Research In Child Development Marc Jambon et al. Published February 20, 2018