As an older sister, I swear I told my brother having such a blessing as myself would make him a better man.
Now that there is evidence, I am thrilled.
Okay, okay. Maybe in the beginning it wasn’t such a blessing. I mean, having your older sister dress you up in pink leotards and play barbies with her probably isn’t so enjoyable in the early stages of boyhood. Nor is getting tricked into doing extra chores or sharing all of your toys.
But eventually I stopped being such a torturous little brat and our relationship grew from me being bossy to being respectful. He stopped resenting me for dressing him up as my little sister and started enjoying our talks about relationships, life and how to get through high school. Even though it wasn’t always easy getting along we learned a lot about how much easier life can be when you have someone who loves you to grow up with.
Today, my brother is respectful of women and sensitive to their feelings.
He can get along with a group of girls and is totally comfortable being their shoulder to cry on. He puts up with hours of waiting while they get ready and knows how to handle a spur of the moment meltdown. I would like to think I had a small part in that.
Perhaps there is evidence that I did. Research shows that men who grow up tend to be much more emotionally secure than those who don’t. Research also shows that women who have sisters are also more confident in social settings. For both men and women, evidence shows that having a sister is beneficial to your mental health and can create a kinder disposition in people.
University of Ulster psychologists measured the emotional well-being of 571 people who were between the ages of 17 and 25.
They found that people who grew up with at least one sister seemed happier, adjusted to life challenges better and seemed less anxious. In other words, having a sister can help with communication and processing emotions in a healthy way. People who have sisters also end up being more independent and can even have clearer life goals.
Tony Cassidy, one of the researchers, states:
Our explanation for it is that the presence of girls opens up channels of communication and it becomes a much more expressive situation and that’s positive.
Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.
Little to my surprise, evidence also shows men who grow up with sisters are better at talking to women. They are also less likely to get divorced.
A study from Brigham Young University shows that having a sister can help fight emotions such as loneliness, feeling unloved, insecurity, fear and guilt. Those who are affectionate with their sisters tend to be more generous opposed to those who are not. There are also benefits to the overall health of those with sisters.
As Laura Padilla-Walker, an author of the study, says:
Just having a sister led to less depression.
Maybe my brother is just awesome and I made no difference in that. I’m sure he would have turned out great whether he was related to me or not. But, I know how much better off I am with him, and I hope he feels the same. Maybe having just any old sister would have given him these benefits, but I know having just any old brother wouldn’t have made such a positive influence in my life.