Sisters open up channels of communication and the environment is a lot more expressive and positive at home.
Remember competing over academic scores or worrying that your sister would tattle about you sneaking up food to your room at night or the hundreds of other arguments and negotiations? Turns out those interactions with your sister made you a better person since a study says that sisters make us better humans.
You could be laughing one moment with her or pulling her hair out, but there are multiple reasons she’s good for you but you already know that. And now, researchers have found exactly how they make us better. Wouldn’t you like to know?
A sister is not just a boost for mental health but also for your self-esteem, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Sisters help siblings feel less lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful, researchers from Brigham Young University found.
“What we know suggests that sisters play a role in promoting positive mental health,” Alex Jensen, assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University told Motherly, "and later in life, they often do more to keep families in contact with one another after the parents pass." Based on what another researcher part of the study told ABC News, "Just having a sister led to less depression."
Additionally, going by what one study, a 2009 survey conducted by British psychologists, sisters are also better experiencing less stress. They help you achieve inner peace and in turn make you happier and more optimistic than peers without sisters.
All those years of fighting over everything and then making up with love and affection teach people social skills like communication, compromise, and negotiation. “Even sibling conflict, if it is minor, can promote healthy development,” the researcher said.
Author of The Sibling Effect Jeffrey Kluger via Motherly says that a combative and physically intimidating older sister can help you learn about handling tough arguments or diffusing escalating situations while having a younger sibling who needs your advice will make you more nurturing and empathetic to others.
Sisters encourage positive behaviors like compassion and altruism by showing love and affection. The level of their affection can’t be replicated even by parents.
"Even if there is a little bit of fighting, as long as they have affection, the positive will win out," lead study author Laura Padilla-Walker, a professor in BYU’s School of Family Life, said in an interview with ABC News. "If siblings get in a fight, they have to regulate emotions. That's an important skill to learn for later in life."
She also added that sibling affection from either gender led to less delinquency and more positive social behaviors like kindness, generosity, volunteering and helping others.
Men who grew up with sisters were better at communicating with women than those who grew up with brothers only and the same applies to the women who grew up with brothers.
“Some research suggests that having a sibling who is a different gender from you can be a real benefit in adolescence,” Jensen tells Motherly. Many siblings connect and get closer during teenage since they are each other’s source of information about the opposite sex.
Growing up with even one sister made you more determined and independent than if you grew up with brothers, the 2009 survey revealed. “There is something about the family situation with the number of girls in it that leads to more encouragement to achieve and be independent,” study co-author Tony Cassidy of the University of Ulster told the Daily Mail.
According to researcher Cassidy, emotional expression is crucial for good mental health and sisters help promote that in families. They open up channels of communication and the environment is a lot more expressive and positive.
So cherish your sisters because they make your lives better. From girlfriend or boyfriend advice to sharing clothes and baking cookies or even helping with your homework, they have had your back at home and at school. Even after years of being married, you probably still seek her advice out. Now you know exactly how she makes your life better.