I don’t have sisters and to be honest I have seen some pretty scary fights between sisters that have made me glad I don’t. Although many people with big sisters might argue they are more of a bane to their existence then a blessing, research shows they offer many benefits. According to Laura Padilla-Walker, the lead author on sibling research performed at Brigham Young University, sisters help develop social skills even when the relationship has conflict. (1)

Here is evidence that your big sister is a blessing.

Mental Health Boost

A sister helps provide protection against feelings of loneliness, guilt, fear, self-consciousness and being unloved. The Journal of Family Psychology reported a big sister can promote positive mental health. (1)

More Compassionate

Brigham Young University found a sister can nurture compassion. They help siblings become kinder and more giving. Sisters show siblings love and affection. As a result, they promote more positive social behaviors including compassion and altruism, more so than parents. (1)

Although you might fight with your sister, when balanced with affection, the positive affects of sisterhood remain more influential according to lead study author Laura Padilla-Walker. Through fighting, siblings learn to regulate emotion. (1)

Protectiveness Of Sisters

Professor Tony Cassidy, of the University of Ulster studied families going through breakups. They found sisters arouse protectiveness when it comes to expressiveness, cohesion and conflict. On the flip side, the presence of brothers reduces expressiveness and cohesion. (2)

sisters

Siblings Promote Good Deeds

Let’s not get the wrong impression about brothers. The study also found that having a loving sibling, either brother or sister, still promoted good deeds. This might include learning to help a neighbor or teaching children to watch out for other kids in a school setting. (1)

According to the study, siblings in general fostered charitable attitudes even more than loving parents. Sibling affection and nurturing the impulse for good deeds was two times stronger than the tie between affectionate parenting and good deeds. (1)

Non-Scientific Sister Power

Although you can put more faith in science, there’s also a lot of non-scientific reasons sisters are a blessing. Big sisters can act as a buffer between you and your parents by being the first to go down the wrong path. They also helped through those awkward years when you faced puberty but didn’t want to ask your mom those embarrassing questions. (3)

Some of the things you can thank your big sister for might include (3):

  1. Paving the way with your parents to make life easier
  2. Managing your enemies without causing more harm than good
  3. Providing a strong role model
  4. Helping you grow up without being too condescending
  5. A guide for your education
  6. Offering some fashion sense
  7. Defending you against parents or bullies
  8. Dating advice
  9. Listening and holding on to your deepest secrets
  10. Driving you around before you’re old enough

So, there you have it. Both scientific and not-so-scientific evidence supports the notion that sisters are a blessing. For me however, I am the middle child between two brothers. I wouldn’t trade my brothers for all the fashion sense and dating advice in the world!

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