Whether you grew up with one sibling or multiple brothers and sisters, chances are there was plenty of bickering to go around. My older brother and I definitely duked out our fair share of arguments over the years. That said, I also count him as one of my best friends. No matter how much sibling rivalry existed between us growing up, we always knew we could count on each other when the going got tough.
As it turns out, no matter how much I annoyed him, he was particularly blessed to have me hanging around all the time. No, I’m not just talking about my wonderful personality and wit, a recently resurfaced study from 2010 claims that people who grow up with a sister feel more loved and accepted.
Researchers at Brigham Young University observed 395 families with more than one child and at least one adolescent between the ages of 10 and 14. After gathering information from them, and then checking in on them one year later, they found that children with sisters felt less “lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious, and fearful.” The results were the same regardless of whether the sister was the younger or older sibling, or however many years apart they were in age.
But before the sisters out there take all the bragging rights, the study is also quick to note that brothers can be important, too. It really boils down to having loving siblings who feel protective of each other. The research just points to the fact that female siblings are often a bit more nurturing and attuned to emotions than males.
The study even claims that fighting with siblings during adolescence can be beneficial. All those battles can help kids learn to control their emotions and make up peacefully, but the message should still always encourage sibling affection. Since they see each other on more of a level playing field, in certain ways siblings can have more impact on each other than their parents.
If this sounds like you and your siblings, go ahead and give them a big hug — they’ve earned it!