7 Reasons Having Siblings Is Awesome
Written by: Kat Gal
When my brother was born, I was apparently so excited that I ran around our apartment building telling everyone about his arrival. A few years later I gave him my favorite teddy bear to show my love for him.
Though we had our fair share of sibling-fights, have 6 years between us and didn’t necessarily play together all the time, as time went by we grew closer and closer. We share a history, secrets, stories and sibling love. We are adults now and live on separate continents, yet we are still best friends.
If you have a sibling, you can likely relate and agree that having a sibling is awesome. But what does science say?
Throughout history there has been extensive research done on twins and their bond. Yet, 4 out of 5 Americans grow up with a brother or sister who is not their twin. Non-twin siblings describe a special bond and a lifelong connection that has nothing to do with biology – even though most siblings do share about 50% of the same genes.
If you have a sibling, you know that you can just pick up what they are feeling or thinking without words and are able to pick up conversations after weeks or years. I know that even when I don’t see my brother for a year, I can feel his support and care through a special energy that bonds us.
But if it’s not only genetics, then what are the roots of these amazing sibling bonds?
Here are 7 powerful facts that explain your connection with your brother(s) and/or sister(s).
1. Siblings mark your most enduring relationship in life.
You will never know another human being for as long as you know your sibling. It doesn’t matter if you grew up close from the first day on and remained best friends or fought through childhood or became disconnected for some period of time, this connection will always be special from this perspective.
According to The Sibling Bond by Stephen Bank and Michael Kahn, sibling relationship is life’s longest lasting relationship, on average a quarter of a century longer than the one to our parents and certainly longer than to our spouse and – with special exceptions – to most of our friends.
2. Siblings can be your best teachers.
Your interactions with your siblings are some of your first peer interactions, giving you the first opportunities to learn about different aspects of relationships.
According to Jeffrey Kluger, author of The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About US, siblings are friends, co-conspirators, collaborators, playmates, counselors, protectors, role models, enemies, sources of envy, objects of pride and cautionary tales all in one. Siblings teach each other how to handle conflict and how to be best friends.
3. Siblings share lasting memories, focusing on the good times.
Though most siblings go through their little wars and rivalries, these have little lasting effects, teaching children essential life skills for adulthood. According to research, children who have battled with their siblings become more emotionally skilled, learn patience, acceptance and cautionary lessons.
While I can certainly recall the time when my brother threw a battery at my head and he remembers when I hid his dinosaur in the sandbox, today, we simply laugh at these stories and bond through our positive memories.
4. Siblings grow closer through the hard times.
Siblings tend to experience traumatic life events together, including loss of a loved one and divorce of their family members. Experiencing difficult times together forces siblings to put differences aside, work through the pain together and come together for strength and support.
Though our parents divorce landed us on different continents for the later part of our upbringing, this family split has brought us closer and helped us to create an unbreakable bond. Standing together as we buried our grandmother together a few years ago made this difficult event easier for the both of us.
5. Siblings thrive on differences.
Most past research has focused on the differences between siblings rather than the similarities. Siblings are definitely different in many ways, for example, my brother is talented in music, while I am a great runner and swimmer. He is fascinated in history and art and I am more into psychology and holistic health.
Yet siblings usually experience these differences as positives, celebrate them and even thrive on them. These differences actually make connections between siblings more lively, creating stronger bonds.
6. Siblings understand each other intuitively.
It is difficult to explain, but there is something special about how siblings are able to get each other – often without words, often without being in the same place. I know my brother’s facial expressions and am often able to tell what he is thinking or about to say. Similar events will usually trigger the same memory, at times resulting in laughing at inside jokes no one understands. It is also true that nobody will understand my emotions and perhaps – to an outsider – unreasonable reactions as well as he does.
According to Terri Apter, author of The Sister Knot, siblings when growing up may not always admire each other and may not always get along well, but will always be interested in each other intensely. This detailed interest creates a special understanding, lasting a lifetime.
7. Siblings are supportive and become more supportive throughout life.
Some relationships get stronger throughout the years, while others fade. When it comes to the relationship between siblings, their bond gets stronger as they age and becomes particularly strong when they reach elderly age. My brother and I are closer now than we were 20 years ago as children and I have observed a special strong bond between my grandma and her sister throughout the years.
Based on research, as people get older, their morale and well-being seems higher and they feel emotionally more secure and more supported when their sibling is still living. This positive effect of having a living sibling as an elderly person is not even dependent on the frequency or the quality of the interaction either. Simply knowing that their sibling was alive and available seemed to be enough.
I know that I could not imagine my life without my brother. How about you? Are your close to your sibling(s)? What are your favorite memories with them? Share with us in the comments below. We would love to hear your stories. Make sure to share this article with your sibling(s) to show your love.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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