Having siblings can try your nerves at times, but there are many great benefits! Your sibs are good for your physical and mental health, which may shock you!
Perks of Having Siblings
Having siblings can be a wonderful experience and one that you are grateful for. Of course, it may not always feel that fantastic. When you’re little and you have to share a lot of space and attention or when you’re older and have to compete with your sibling, you definitely may not appreciate every aspect.
Depending on your birth order, you and your siblings may have a different opinion on how wonderful it really is to have siblings. While you may bicker with your older siblings and have disagreements with your younger siblings, there are some amazing benefits to growing up with sibling relationships.
Some of these pros you may have thought of and some you may not have known, so let’s see if we can give you a new appreciation for your older brother or younger sister.
It’s Good For Your Mental Health
Research has shown that people who have siblings tend to grow up being able to tackle difficult life situations easier than those without siblings. Between any sibling rivalries that you may have dealt with your older sister or younger brother in addition to having to deal with sharing attention and space with another person, your childhood is a little like training for the “being-an-adult Olympics.”
Having a sibling put you in situations that you wouldn’t have had to deal with if you had been an only child. And while there are benefits to being an only child as well, one of the great things about having a sibling was that it allowed you to learn how to deal with some challenges very early on. That in turn – research shows – has left you in what is likely a healthier mental space.
When you have a family member who is a little bit closer to your age, whether you are the oldest sibling or one of the youngest siblings, you have a safe space in which to try things out. You learn how to make mistakes, and recover from them, within strong social ties before heading out into the world.
You’ve Got a Friend
Even if you’re the polar opposite of your siblings, you will always have a friend when you have siblings in your life. Siblings, especially those who grew up in the same house as you can relate to your experiences, thoughts, and feelings throughout your lifetime.
You may not agree with each other on everything (or anything), but when you’ve started at the same home base, you have an understanding that no one else can possibly have. You’re experienced things as younger children that no one else has seen. You’ve done cool stuff on trips together, hunted out stellar hiding places, made fun of your parents, and hopefully had a best friend available for those tougher moments.
As the eldest sibling, you may have been tasked with watching all of the children of a younger age. And while this may have had you feeling more like one of the older people at times, you were also likely one of your siblings’ personal coaches, watched out for their physical health (being one of the main reasons they are okay today), and were a sounding board for their worries.
All of the pressures you may have been put under can’t have been easy, but the situation leaves you with a sibling bond like no other. You may have been the biggest influence as the big sister or big brother. At the end of the day, that bond lives on.
Less Likely to Divorce?
It is still being researched, but there is data to indicate that people who grow up with siblings are less likely to divorce. The reasoning behind this is that these people have developed better coping skills to work with other human beings and may therefore be able to weather the storms more successfully.
To stay married, you have to have good communication skills, which is a practice that you may (or may not) have developed at a younger age with your life with siblings. Whether you needed to figure out the best way to ask if you could borrow their new clothes, ask for a ride to high school, or manage situations when trouble starts, you have had long term experience with navigating troubled waters.
Achieving Your Goals
Living with siblings from a young age tends to motivate one towards achieving goals. Whether you strove to be more successful than your sibling or wanted to be on the same team, having a sibling instilled a naturally competitive element into your life.
When you get out into the world, the idea of competing with others for attention, success, or sport is something that is not new. You may have high expectations for yourself because you are the second child and always felt like you wanted to catch up. Maybe you have had a close friendship with your little brother and encouraged him to do a good job in school. Maybe you watched the older kids succeed and wanted to prove yourself. In the end, this naturally learned behavior makes having siblings pretty beneficial to your adult success.
It makes sense. Even though you spend less time together in adulthood and middle age, that foundation never really changes.
Siblings often have a natural connection – meaning that they can almost sense when the other is having a difficult time. While we have all heard that twins have an uncanny ability to know each other, there is also something to be said for having a sibling connection.
Having a sibling that you can call or touch base with throughout your life allows you to deter depression from taking over during the more challenging times. Remember, you may not know each other as well as you once did, but your sibling knows you and your history in a way that no one else possibly could. With far fewer words, your sibling will be able to understand you like most others can’t, and can hopefully take better care of those specific areas in your life than anyone else could. They are a part of your support team like no other.
Lend a Shoulder
One of the best things about having siblings is that you will forever have someone to turn to when you need advice. You may or may not want the advice they give based on your history, but you will always have someone who is hopefully in your court.
Having a visit or calling your sibling during a time where you have to make an important decision is a huge benefit because like we’ve discussed before, no one knows you like your sibling. If you approach them with honesty and an intentional desire to hear what they think – or be there for them in a time of need – you can have confidence that they are there for you. As older children and adults, your sibling relationships can be more complicated, but your sibling is someone who could provide emotional support and immense relief under the right circumstances.
Having siblings is a positive thing. No one on the planet knows you like your sibling because no one else grew up in your household. No one else knows the smells of dinner, the tone your parents had when you were in trouble, the car trips that you took to visit the grandparents or any of the other nuances that come with your specific life.
Whether you and your sibling are best friends or not on the best of terms, let this remind you what a benefit they are and have been in your life. Your sibling is the friend that you had when you didn’t even know that you wanted one, so make sure that you make the most of that relationship (while maintaining healthy boundaries). It will continue to benefit both of you.