Loving Siblings Promote Good Deeds

Loving siblings of either gender promote good deeds better than a loving parent.  What….??? Recent research from the Flourishing Families Project says kids with loving siblings are more likely to help a neighbor or watch out for other kids at school. In fact, loving siblings fostered charitable attitudes more than loving parents did.

Loving Siblings - Scott and Jenny Briggs

Loving Siblings – Scott and Jenny Briggs

I found this to be interesting as I have watched and admired my mother my whole life for being charitable and compassionate.  Could I really have learned more about doing good from my 3 sisters?  The research says the relationship between sibling affection and good deeds was twice as strong as that between parenting and good deeds.

Parents Should Encourage Sibling Affection

So the message to parents–encourage sibling affection!  “Many parents justifiably worry about the seemingly endless fighting between siblings. The study found hostility was indeed associated with greater risk of delinquency. Yet Padilla-Walker also sees a silver lining in the data: The fights give children a chance to learn how to make up and to regain control of their emotions, skills that come in handy down the road.  An absence of affection seems to be a bigger problem than high levels of conflict.”  So if you’re kids are fighting, don’t worry about it too much. :)

I take that to mean that fighting between siblings is healthy as long as they are taught how to resolve conflict and stay in control.  Sibling rivalry can actually turn into sibling affection and foster a greater desire to serve and do good things than any parent influence.  So there is hope in the endless scratching, biting and tattletaling!

Sister Siblings Improve Mental Health

Also if you are between the age of 10-14 and have a sister, you are a bit less likely to be down in the dumps.  Can you agree to that? Because I can.  This article is titled, Sister’s give siblings better mental health,  and not only explores the impact that siblings have on one another, but specifically the impact a sister has.   Sisters (older or younger) protect adolescents from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful.  This actually makes me marvel at the genius of family and how everyone in the family plays such an important and specific role.

The bottom line is, research shows that siblings matter in unique ways, they give kids somethings that parents can’t.  Foster the relationship between your kids, great things will happen.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the impact siblings have.  Do you think siblings really can have a stronger impact than parents?  What were your siblings like when you grew up?  How can parents encourage their kids to form stronger relationships with their siblings?  I think this calls for a game to help siblings grow closer…to be posted later.  Check back!