You fight, you argue, then you make up, and share secrets — these are just some of the usual scenarios you would be quite familiar with if you have a sister. No matter how annoying growing up with a sister can be, science gave its verdict: having a sister can help make you a better person.
In a study conducted in 2010 at Brigham Young University and published on Journal of Family Psychology, it was discovered that having a sister can greatly improve a child’s mental and emotional health.
The Brigham Young University study involved the assessment of 395 families with multiple siblings, one of which is aged between 10 to 14 years old.
It appears that regardless of the bickering, there can still be positive results when you have a sister. One of the authors of the research, Alex Jensen, stressed that “Even sibling conflict, if it is minor, can promote healthy development.”
According to the study, here are the benefits of having a sister in your life:
1. Having a sister can help you have an improved self-esteem and a better mental health. Sisters, as it turns out, can help their siblings avoid feelings of loneliness, guilt, fear, and self-consciousness — a sister can also eliminate feelings of being unloved. Age gap between the siblings doesn’t affect the results.
2. In general, having a sister can make you a kinder and more generous person. Sisters can help promote good social behavior such as generosity, selflessness, and empathy.
3. Getting in a fight with your sister (or even a brother) can help in learning how to regulate or control emotions, too. Laura Padilla- Walker, the head of the study and a professor in the BYU, said: “If siblings get in a fight, they have to regulate emotions. That’s an important skill to learn for later in life.”
4. Sisters can help you resolve conflicts better, be more compassionate, and be more nurturing. Once you fight with your sister, it helps you handle the tough situation well. And, if you have a younger sister in need of guidance or assurance, you learn how to be more nurturing or compassionate to others. These traits are even linked to being better at handling marriages later in the future.
On a separate study conducted in the University of Ulster, it was revealed that having a sister can help siblings communicate more. According to the study, a family who has at least one female sibling is more likely to engage in conversations.
Having a sister can help male siblings understand and communicate with females better, too — and vice versa.
Being more ambitious and independent is also among the benefits of having a sister, according to the same study from the University of Ulster.
Sisters can help you be stress-free! Having a sister can help you have a balanced life with less stress, the University of Ulster study also found out. As a result, siblings with sisters have happier, and a more positive view on life.
As per Tony Cassidy, one of the authors of the University of Ulster study, female siblings are more expressive emotionally, thus promoting a healthy balance in a home. Tony added that: “Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.”
Having a sister is good for you — even science agrees. Sure, you fight from time to time, and yes, it’s irritating when she “borrows” your stuff, but having a sister in your life means having someone you can lean on and count on at any time, and not everyone is fortunate enough to have someone like that in their lives.