I am the oldest of four sisters, so trust me, I know how infuriating having sisters can sometimes be. I’ve probably had the most epic of fights with them over the most random things – like spending all the hot water, or who gets the window seat in the car, or because they took my favorite shirt without asking.
But I also know that I am incredibly lucky to have them. First of all, having grown up with them I always knew had a best friend (or three). There was always someone you could ask for advice and someone who you knew had your back. Having sisters has also taught me patience and unconditional love (who else could you have fights of such a scale that it would ruin any relationship, and carry on like nothing happened ten minutes later?)
So yes, having a sister is an incredible thing and now we even have science to back up the claim.
In 2010 a study was conducted on 400 families with more than one child- where one of them was between the ages of 10 and 14 – which examined the dynamics between the siblings. The results of the study were published in The Journal of Family Psychology and showed that having a sister can have a significant impact on a person’s mental wellbeing.
The teenagers who had a sister reported feeling more loved, as well as less lonely, scared, guilty or self-conscious. The age of the sister (if she was older or younger), or the age gap between them didn’t seem to be relevant.
Something else that emerged from the study was that having a sister led to a better ability to empathize, communicate, as well as better conflict-solving. That’s because even if siblings fight, girls tend to be more forthcoming and talkative than boys, so they don’t hesitate to talk things through in order to solve problems. This also leads to boys being better communicators with women, once they’ve grown older.
The study’s author, Laura Padilla-Walker, said that even if the siblings fight, “as long as they have affection, the positive will win out.”
What’s more, this study also showed that when the parents pass away, it’s the sisters who try harder to hold the family together. So, if you have a sister giver her a call to tell her you appreciate her. She could have very well shaped you into the person you are today.