If you have a sister, then she’s probably had a bigger impact on your life than you might have realized, and if you are someone’s sister, then you’ve probably done more good for your siblings’ lives than you may have realized.
A study from Brigham Young University found that having a brother or sister can encourage children to be more helpful and kind to others. Of course, this does not mean that only children are sociopathic because parents continue to help teach and promote good deeds, but having siblings means that children do twice the right things for others.
Now if your sibling is a sister, the study says, “Statistical analyses showed that having a sister protected adolescents from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful. It didn’t matter whether the sister was younger or older, or how far apart the siblings were age-wise.”
Out of the participating families in the study, 395 of them had at least 2 children, one of whom was 10 to 14 years old. To confirm the data, the researchers followed each family one year after collecting the original data. These teenagers with sisters showed clear signs of benefits.
One theory about why a sister promotes happiness in adolescence is that girls generally communicate better than boys. This gives them the edge when it comes to problem-solving. In addition, it’s more likely that girls will take on a caregiver role to their siblings, which can be helpful in the years that they may be dealing with teenage drama. Regardless of the reason, say “thank you” to your sister.
If you’re a parent of more than two young children, there are many things that you can be learned from the study, one of the major lessons being that it’s important to encourage your children to show affection towards one another.
Laura Padilla-Walker, a Brigham Young professor who was also the lead author of the research said, “Once they get to adolescence, it’s going to be a big protective factor.”
Of course, if your kids argue a lot, it’s not a problem. In fact, a little fight between brothers and sisters has its advantages. Padilla-Walker believes that it teaches children how to resolve conflict, as well as express their emotions, both of which are important life skills to have.
“An absence of affection seems to be a bigger problem than high levels of conflict,” Padilla-Walker adds.
What do you think of the study? Was having siblings or a sister beneficial to you?