August 9, 2010 in Features

The benefits of having siblings

 

Siblings who stay connected as they grow older not only support each other emotionally, studies show, they also help improve each other’s physical and mental health.

The benefits of having brothers and sisters are evident even at an early age, according to recent research from Brigham Young University. Ten- to 14-year-olds with a sister are less likely to feel lonely, self-conscious and fearful, the BYU study shows.

It doesn’t matter if the sister is older or younger, according to a story in Science Daily, which provided some details about the study.

The research was conducted by professor Laura Padilla-Walker, who teaches in the university’s School of Family Life. The study is part of BYU’s Flourishing Families Project, which examines the importance of families to individuals and assesses how families deal with the daily and extraordinary stresses of life.

According to Padilla-Walker, having “a loving sibling” – brother or sister – also encouraged children to help others and take better care of themselves.

“In fact, loving siblings fostered charitable attitudes more than loving parents did,” wrote Science Daily. “The relationship between sibling affection and good deeds was twice as strong as that between parenting and good deeds.”

Even though most siblings have a tendency to argue and fight, lessons are actually learned from all that squabbling.

Another study from Ohio State University, which examined the behaviors of more than 20,000 children nationwide, found that kids who grew up with one or more siblings get along better with their peers in kindergarten.

They’re also better at getting along with people who are different and showing sensitivity to others’ feelings as a result of learning how to resolve conflict at home.

What are other benefits of having brothers and sisters? How about the benefits of having or being an only child?

– Posted by Virginia de Leon

Join the conversation at www.spokesman.com/blogs/parents.


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