Having a sister makes you a better person! As someone who has two sisters, I can assure you, despite all the fighting and bickering, my sisters made me a better version of myself. This is not based on my mere experiences; even studies have found that having a sister makes people better.
A 2010 study conducted at Bringham Young University and published in the August 2010 edition of Journal of Family Psychology found that having a sister helps protect young teens from feeling depressed, lonely, unloved, and multiple other negative feelings.
Researchers closely examined 350 Seattle based families with two or more children; one child being 10-14 years old. It showed that sisters were capable of providing a unique kind of influence on their siblings, one that their parents were not able to provide. Sisters improve conflict-resolution skills, empathy while teaching their siblings to nurture others.
“Even after you account for parents’ influence, siblings do matter in unique ways,” said Padilla-Walker, who teaches in BYU’s School of Family Life. “They give kids something that parents don’t.”
The research studied the family dynamics of the families and then followed up to one year later. When analyzed, the findings showed that sisters were emotional protectors of other siblings.
It did not seem to matter whether the sister was younger or older than the other sibling.
Even though sisters and their siblings fight all the time, their relationship still matters a lot and is deep. The key, as suggested by Padilla-Walker, is to encourage positivity and affection.
“For parents of younger kids, the message is to encourage sibling affection,” said Padilla-Walker. “Once they get to adolescence, it’s going to be a big protective factor.”
Hostility in the family dynamic, it was found, contributes towards a higher risk of delinquency, but fighting among the siblings can still be healthy. The data showed that such fights help siblings improve their conflict resolution skills and teach them to control their feelings. “An absence of affection seems to be a bigger problem than high levels of conflict,” Padilla-Walker said.
So, it is evident that we all should be grateful to our sisters.
And, conversely, David Lawson, an anthropologist at University College London, found that having older brothers made you more likely to be shorter. So, a big thank you goes out to the brothers too.