Research shows that having a sibling is more than fighting over who gets the T.V. first and being forced to share a room together.
According to multiple studies, growing up with a brother or sister may actually influence mental and physical health, and shape people’s lifestyle choices.
Here are five benefits to growing up with a sibling.
They make you more selfless:
A recent study, conducted by Brigham Young University, examined the relationship between siblings in more than 300 families and found having a healthy relationship with a brother or sister may foster selflessness in teens, especially boys.
“In our study, most relationships were not as important for boys as they were for girls,” study co-author Laura Padilla-Walker said in a Brigham Young University release. “But the sibling relationship was different —they seemed to report relying on sibling affection just as much as girls do. It’s an area where parents and therapists could really help boys.”
They may help your mental health:
Results from the same study, conducted by Brigham Young University, found that sisters, specifically, help improve mental health in ways parents don’t. “Even after you account for parents’ influence, siblings do matter in unique ways,” Padilla-Walker said. “They give kids something that parents don’t.”
The study showed that regardless of age-distance, having a sister can protect adolescents against feelings of loneliness, guilt, self-consciousness, and fear. The research did take sibling conflict into account. Padilla-Walker said fights allow children to learn how to control their emotions.
“An absence of affection seems to be a bigger problem than high levels of conflict,” Padilla-Walker said.
They make us happier:
For many having a brother or sister is more than having a sibling — it is a lifelong friendship unlike any other. Research shows that this sibling bond not only helps us grow and mature, but can lead to a happy life as we age. A study, conducted by Ohio State University, shows that older people with living siblings have a higher self-confidence and enthusiasm for life.
Siblings keep us physically fit:
According to Doctor Rick Nauert, 43 percent of people, who were a part of a global study, say friends and family have the largest influence on their health choices. And almost one third of the people with healthy lifestyles distanced themselves from those making unhealthy choices. So, encouraging each other to choose healthy habits may help foster the sibling bond.
They could help you live longer:
According to research published in the PLoS Medicine journal, social ties to siblings can help you live a longer life. The study showed that siblings with solid bonds live 7.5 years longer than those with poor social connections to their siblings. Time Magazine reported this could be because caring for siblings inspires people to take care of themselves.
Keeping a healthy and tight bond with siblings can help foster healthier and happier lives.