Why siblings are good for you!

Sometimes we get along. Other times they drive us bonkers, but overall (most of the time) we love our brothers and sisters. And research shows that the sibling bond is about more than Sunday family dinners and spontaneous wrestling matches over the telly remote. It’s National Sibling Day today and it’s time to celebrate just exactly how amazing and complicated the sibling bond can be! 

I’m the youngest of five, yes FIVE. So when it comes to siblings, I know a little bit about the subject! 

Whether you’re besties or can’t be in the same room without hissing at each other, there’s no question that you and your sibling (or siblings) share a lifelong relationship. Friends come and go, but your brothers and/or sisters are there for the long haul. And you’re around them a whole lot.

A relationship with your sibling is most likely the longest close relationship you’ll ever have.  They last longer than parental relationships and start earlier than romantic relationships. These bonds are the most influential ones in our lives but sometimes can be rather difficult.

When we’re young, our siblings are an extremely important part of our development, no matter if you’re the oldest or youngest or somewhere in between, Younger siblings look to older ones on how to navigate the social world. Older siblings can practise being an authority figure and how to negotiate.  Middle siblings have been known to be the “peace makers”. While each has its own inherent benefits to growing both the sibling relationship and the development of the individual children, it can drive parents crazy!

Siblings often will be extremely protective of each other… against everyone else.  In other words “I can pick on my siblings but anyone outside the family BETTER NOT!”

Siblings keep each other entertained, though it’s usually not the quiet happy playing that parents wish for.

The benefits of having siblings can last your whole life through.  During middle age and old age, indicators of well-being — mood, health, morale, stress, depression, loneliness, life satisfaction — are tied to how you feel about your brothers and sisters.

In one Swedish study, satisfaction with sibling contact in one’s 80s was intertwined with health and positive mood – amazingly it was found to be even more than was satisfaction with friendships or relationships with grown children. And loneliness was eased for older people in a supportive relationship with their siblings, no matter whether they gave or got support.

Not only can siblings boost mental health and physical fitness, but strong social ties may help you live longer, according to research. On average, those with few social connections died about 7.5 years earlier than those with solid bonds to friends and family. That’s about the same difference in length of life as the gap between smokers and non-smokers.

All in all, having siblings can be one of the most significant relationships of your life. Take today to celebrate your brothers and/or sisters. Do you have siblings? What is your relationship with them? Leave me a comment below or you can find me on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram.

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