If you grew up with a sibling, you’re lucky. Having a brother or sister there who has your back and is there to guide you through life (or, if you’re older, for you to guide through life) is a gift that you should never take for granted. This is especially the case since science has discovered the positive effect siblings, especially sisters, have on your mental health.
- Sisters make our world a better place. According to a study performed by Brigham Young University and published in Journal of Family Psychology, having a sister gives girls overall better mental health, especially during their pre-teen and teenage years. Researchers studied 395 families with multiple children where at least one was between the ages of 10 and 14. Whether the sister in the family was younger or older, the child between 10 and 14 was happier just having them there.
- The findings aren’t all that surprising. After all, if you have a sister, you know how valuable it can be to have her there to talk to when you’re having guy (or girl) issues, feeling down, or just want some general advice on life. She makes you laugh and you know she has your back 100%. There’s no support quite like the support you get from your sister.
- That being said, even having a brother is a good thing. The study also found that kids with siblings, even if they were brothers, were generally kinder and more thoughtful and willing to do good deeds. This is presumably because having brothers and sisters means having to think of people other than yourself, share, and look out for them. That can only be a good thing, right?
- Siblings affect our lives in ways that our parents can’t. According to Brigham Young University professor and lead study author Laura Padilla-Walker, “Even after you account for parents’ influence, siblings do matter in unique ways. They give kids something that parents don’t.” That means that even brothers can make a big difference in our lives—sisters just have the edge.
- If you have a sister, cherish her. The bond between sisters is important and it’s unlike any other relationship you’ll have in your life. To know that someone is there for you always and will always want the best for you is a great feeling and one you should always appreciate. Oh, and cherish your brothers too—they count.