“My first job is a big sister and I take that very seriously” – Venus Williams
There are many advantages to having a sister. I’m lucky enough to have three. I’ve also got two daughters of my own and they play such an important role in our family.
“Even after you account for parents’ influence, siblings do matter in unique ways,” said Laura Padilla-Walker, who teaches in BYU’s School of Family Life. “They give kids something that parents don’t.”
Siblings have unique relationships with totally different dynamics from the relationship between parent and child. Here are some reasons why I’m glad that my children will have that experience.
1. Sisters promote kindness.
This BYU study found that having a loving sister or brother promotes good deeds like watching out for other kids at school. In fact, loving siblings fostered charitable attitudes more than loving parents did. The relationship between sibling affection and good deeds was twice as strong as that between parenting and good deeds.
2. Sisters can fill in for Mom
Older siblings are a huge help to Mom and Dad, which is a great benefit in larger families where parents’ attention is constantly divided. My oldest daughter can make bottles, change diapers, and put kids to bed. She’s in high demand as a babysitter now because of these mad skillz.
3. Sisters bring out the softer side of brothers
I’ve seen my boys be tender toward each other, but it really is much more likely for them to rough house together. But somehow my little girls can get their brothers to dress up, play house, and watch princess movies with them. I love their influence on each other.
4. Learning about the birds and the bees doesn’t come as such a shock
If you’ve helped your mom bathe the baby and change your little sister’s diapers, the “big talk” doesn’t come as such a surprise and goes a little more smoothly.
5. Sisters break down stereotypes
Nothing raises gender awareness quite like having a sister. My boys know their sisters are just as capable, smart, and interesting as any guy they know. Equal opportunities? Equal pay? These are moot points among brothers and sisters — everyone gets a turn on dish duty.
6. Sisters help you pick a partner
Sure brothers and sisters fight like old married couples, but having a sister teaches boys a lot about women and the qualities they like (or don’t like) in a relationship.
7. Sisters have the gift of gab
Typically, girls speak sooner and are more verbal than boys. This is definitely the case in my family. My son will go through the day hardly saying two words but at night I’ll find him chatting with his sister. If I eavesdrop (and I do) I can learn a lot more about his day than he ever tells me.
8. Having a sister helps you learn to fight right
While parents worry over siblings who constantly bicker, those fights actually teach kids how to make up and regain control of their emotions — a valuable life skill.
9. Sisters show affection
Little boys give hugs easily, but as they get older guy culture discourages this easy show of affection. Sisters don’t abide by the same rules and can kiss, hug, pat, or smack their brothers for as long as they want.
10. Sisters smooth rough edges
Any conscientious mom will raise her boys to be gentlemen, but it’s a lot easier when there are more ladies actually present. My son relies on his sister for fashion advice as well.
11. A sister is a friend for life
No parent wants to think about growing old, but it happens to all of us. Sisters provide support and comfort through all of life’s ups and downs and often take on the caretaker role in the family.
12. Sisters act as confidantes
Because the sibling relationship is horizontal — neither one is an authority over the other — they can tell each other things they might not feel comfortable sharing with parents or teachers. When kids are older, having someone like this to act as a sounding board helps guard against depression.
13. Sisters prevent loneliness
Studies show that adolescents who have a sister — no matter whether she is younger or older, or how far apart they are in age — are more protected from feeling alone and unloved.
14. Sisters make you less self-conscious
Statistical analysis also shows that teens who have a sister feel less self-conscious. What an advantage during those difficult teen years!
15. Sisters make you braver
Children who have sisters report feeling less fearful. Having a sister seems to ground siblings and make them feel safe.
Read my blog, Every Day I Write the Book
For more about daughters, check out Devan’s post!