Competition, jealousy, constant bickering, and rock-solid love layered underneath – you’ll never actually grow out of being under the influence of your siblings, for better or for worse. Research shows they impact your life in more ways than one, and not just during childhood.
1. Growing up in a big family lowers your risk of divorce. A study conducted at Ohio State University concluded that people who’ve grown up with siblings are more committed to staying married than those who are only children. Being part of a big family gives you more practice in skills like compassion, negotiation, empathy, and above all the ability to compromise, all of which make a marriage stronger.
2. Having an opposite-sex sibling improves your partnership skills. Pennsylvania State University researchers found that adults who grew up with siblings of the opposite gender are more confident and more adept in negotiating romantic relationships. This is because as children and teens, they had more opportunities to interact with peers of the opposite sex, as compared to people who had only sisters or only brothers.
3. Having a brother only, means you’ll probably end up being your parents’ caregiver. If you’re a woman, that is. It’s perceived as common practice but a study at Princeton University proved it to be actually true. It suggests that it’s probably because of the perception of women being better at the job of caring. Daughters are often deemed at being more suited to the role, even by parents, especially mothers; and brothers mostly pass on the responsibility to their sisters – unfair but true.
4. Sibling bullying leaves long-term scars. While teasing and occasional scuffles are pretty harmless, serious bullying by siblings is seriously damaging. Whether the abuse is verbal or physical, it often leads to anxiety and depression in later years. Researchers concluded that parents must intervene to stop sibling bullying if they want their kids to grow up stable and happy.
5. Not having a sibling doesn’t turn you into a spoilt brat. There’s absolutely no evidence to support the notion that, if you’re an only child, you’re necessarily going to be a selfish adult. Children get enough interaction with peers in school that makes up for the absence of siblings at home. With parents who are responsible about childcare, only children have every chance to grow up as caring adults.