If you had an older sibling who used to torment you while growing up, instead of resenting them, you might want to give them a call and thank them. That’s because there’s a new report that says meaner siblings actually teach their younger siblings valuable lessons in life according to a new study.
Apparently, having a “mean” older brother and sister will not only keep you on your toes throughout your childhood, but it will also help prepare you for all of the trials and tribulations that come much later in life. The University of Cambridge's Center for Family Research conclude in their recent student that all of the constant back-and-forth bickering may help improve a child’s mental and emotional development. If that weren’t enough, it might also help increase maturity and make them better communicators as adults.
Claire Hughes, Ph.D., the deputy director at the University's Center for Family Research told the Guardian in an interview, "The more combative siblings are, and the more they argue and the older child puts the younger one down, the more they are learning complex lessons about communication and the subtleties of language."
In other words, siblings who fight have a better change of understanding each other’s emotions and their own. They also learn how to regulate them and how to influence others. These are all social skills that prove to be very beneficial later on in life. Each time a sibling tries to “one up” the other, this also helps drive the child to succeed.
The study researched siblings and their cognitive development over the course of five years. The research began from the time the children were age 2 to the time they were age 6.
Dr. Hughes adds that the findings are a good thing for parents, who often worried that all of the fighting might be detrimental to their children’s relationship later in life. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. She said, “Parents might take some sort of comfort, when their children are fighting, in the discovery that they are learning valuable social skills and intelligence, which they will take outside the home, and apply to other children.”
With that being said though, this doesn’t mean that parents should encourage any fighting, whether its verbal or physical. As long as things are resolved in one way or another, the kids will grow up just to be fine. At least, until the next argument comes around.