Science says having a sister is actually good for your mental health

Having a sister makes you a better person, study shows


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For those of us who grew up with a sister, we may not have always appreciated our sibling.

The fights, the slammed doors and if your sister was older than you, the endless lines of ‘wisdom’, made for a very dramatic household.

But while growing up with a sister may not have always been the happiest of times, research has shown that having a sister makes you a better person.

A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University found that having a sibling encouraged children to be helpful, kind and promoted good deeds.

That study showed that if you have a sister it’s even better, no matter the age gap or whether she’s younger or older than you.

Study showed the benefits

“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,” the study said.

The study included 395 parents with at least 2 children, one of whom was 10 to 14 years old.  Researchers then followed up with each family one year later to confirm the findings.

The adolescents who had a sister showed clear benefits.

One way a sister helps with our development is that they communicate more than boys which helps when we need to talk about problems.

There’s also some advice for parents in the study, one important piece being to encourage your children to be affectionate toward each other.

Protective factor

According to Laura Padilla-Walker, a Brigham Young University professor and the lead author on the research, “Once they get to adolescence, it’s going to be a big protective factor.”

Padilla-Walker adds that it’s okay for your kids to fight as it helps them to manage their emotions and learn how to make up.

Padilla-Walker adds, “An absence of affection seems to be a bigger problem than high levels of conflict.”

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Sisters are something we should be grateful for; the older we get the closer we get and the more we appreciate them, so let’s hear it for sisters!

Please share with your loved ones and help celebrate this special sibling.


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