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Siblings were our worst enemies when we were little but as we grow old, we realise that they are the only friends who have always stood beside us and will continue to love us despite what goes wrong. In the formative 1995 book, Sibling Relationships across the Life Span, psychologist Victor Cicirelli says, “the older sibling gains in social skills in interacting with the younger” and “the younger sibling gains cognitively by imitating the older.” In this way, siblings are “agents of socialisation.” The mild conflict between brothers and sisters teaches them how to interact with peers, coworkers, and friends for the rest of their lives. Nikita delves into sibling relationships, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Your parents raised you, your spouse lives with you, but your siblings are the ones who really shaped your personality.
They were our worst enemies when we were little but as we grow old, we realise that they are the only friends who have always stood beside us and will continue to love us despite what goes wrong. The older we get, the closer many of us grow to our siblings. In fact, in a survey of 2,000 adults in Britain, it was found that 25 was the golden age when “we finally start to feel real love for them after years of fighting, bickering and competing” for our parents’ attention. Sibling relationships influence how we deal with the society.
Researchers believe that single children are “not only less trusting, less trustworthy, and more pessimistic, but also less competitive, less conscientious, and more risk-averse.” When you have a positive relationship with your sibling, you’re less likely to have anxiety and depression, according to Professor Clare Stocker from the University of Denver.
Some of the “healthiest, happiest, and least lonely people” are the ones with good sibling relationships. If we look deeper, they were the first ones to notice our sadness and happiness; they saved us from our parent’s wrath, helped us complete school assignments, fought for us, cried for us, and laughed with us. Majorities of our “first-time experiences” were with our siblings, they saw us when we fell from the bicycle, they rejoiced when we came first in competitions and they cried when we failed.
In the formative 1995 book, Sibling Relationships across the Life Span, psychologist Victor Cicirelli says, “the older sibling gains in social skills in interacting with the younger” and “the younger sibling gains cognitively by imitating the older.” In this way, siblings are “agents of socialisation.” The mild conflict between brothers and sisters teaches them how to interact with peers, coworkers, and friends for the rest of their lives.
While our parents always taught us how to be strong and face the world, they were the ones who knew how much we were hurting. They understood our dilemmas and worries more than our friends.
According to Laurie Kramer, a professor of applied family studies at the University of Illinois, “While these conflicts can be a headache for parents, they can help kids make developmental strides in a ‘safe relationship’ and give good training for interacting with peers.” Since you are stuck with your sibling (at least for a while), you are stuck with arguing until there is a resolution, thus you learn how to better communicate. Your brother or sister might have actually made you a more compassionate, kinder person.
“From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys. Our spouses arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents eventually leave us. Our siblings are the only people we will ever know who truly qualify as partners for life,” says Jeffrey Kluger in The New Science of Siblings.
Results of a statistical analysis of nearly 400 families showed that, regardless of age-distance, having a sister protected adolescent against feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious, and fearful.
Having a sibling means having a lifetime of emotional support, a friendship greater than a spouse and endless childhood memories that bring a smile on our faces. If one of the sibs is following a healthy lifestyle, it immediately becomes a way of living for another. Working together school assignments or play is much more effective than working solely. A single child faces enormous difficulty in making new friends, dealing with relatives, and speaking about their issues with parents. They learn to do everything independently but there is always an undying urge for a partner.
Photos sourced by author from the internet.