I grew up with 2 siblings, both sisters. Those days were filled with moments that range from intense battles over ‘who gets to sleep with mommy today’ to ‘standing up for my sister’ fighter moments. Obviously, we were hardly contemplating the importance of having siblings- it was more about sibling rivalry then!
Today, all of us are immersed in our own careers and families. We can go months without talking to each other, and yet- the first people that come to mind when I am in a crisis are my siblings. Whether it is the most trivial bickering that’s itching to get off my chest; or the need to communicate life-changing news or something that could be, well- plain embarrassing. The amazing thing is I can talk to them about anything on the planet- without the added burden of watching my words or carrying the fear of being judged.
And, I am not even talking about zero-conflict situation here.
As it goes, research shows that people who have grown up with siblings carry some distinct advantages over others; clearly articulating the importance of siblings in families.
Kids raised with siblings have a natural understanding that people can be very different. The brother might be quiet, and an avid reader. The sister might be a barefoot adventurer at heart. When you grow up with people with different aptitudes and personalities than yourself, it instills a very high social and emotional understanding of people around you; even much later in life. Plus, it gives them a natural knack at handling conflicts. According to this study by The Columbus Dispatch, even divorce rates are significantly lower for people with siblings.
People with siblings have negotiated a lot in their younger days. Watching and listening to siblings helps kids strengthen their communication loop. They quickly understand what will work and what won’t with their friends. They also develop unique methods to negotiate with their parents. Dr. Laurie Kramer, co-author of the book, Siblings as Agents of Socialization, a sibling’s influence on a child is just as important as a parent’s. While a parent lays the founding stones for formal behaviour in the society; siblings help a great deal in developing informal behavioral traits.
People who have grown up with siblings of the opposite sex are presented with ample opportunities to understand the challenges of the opposite sex. This study of the Pennsylvania State University found that siblings of different sexes have an easier time attracting the opposite sex and succeed in very high levels of engagement while dating.
All that better understanding of human nature and relationships translates to real success, especially for men. According to the Grant Study, a study by Harvard Medical School that began in 1934(and continues till today), men who have siblings earn roughly $50000 more per year.
Children who grew up with healthy relationships with their siblings tend to feel more supported and secure during adulthood. Not surprisingly, this is because siblings know you right through your soul as a result of sharing the same parents, same environment, same conditioning, same discipline and even the same disappointments. According to Dr. Terri Apter, author of ‘The Sister Knot’, siblings may not always agree with you or even like you, but they elicit a great interest in you that is difficult to replicate in any other relationship.
About the Author:
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder of Kidskintha- a site dedicated to creating happy children. She believes that growing up well and happy is a function of growing up with well-informed adults. This site aims to deliver research-grounded and bite-sized pieces of information on two important facets of a child’s life- parenting and education. You can find her voice on the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, TinyBuddha, Citizen Matters , Nectar and Lies About Parenting.
Devishobha is the founder of Kidskintha- an online parenting resource repository dedicated to jumpstarting conversations around millennial parenting, encouraging parents to bring their attention to words, thoughts and actions that will enable them to raise a well-rounded, empathic and motivated generation. You can also find her on the Huffington Post, Parent.co, Entrepreneur, Lifehack, TinyBuddha and many other publications.