I have an older brother who, for more than a decade of my life, was a total asshole to me. From as early as I can remember until he left for college when I was 15, I wished for a sister on a daily basis, thinking that she would be a friend, instead of the foe I had.
And I was right, sort of. Of course, not all sisters are great, or even mediocre. But a study out of BYU seems to show that sisters do, in fact, provide some sort of emotional benefit to their early-adolescent siblings:
Statistical analyses showed that having a sister protected adolescents from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful. It didn’t matter whether the sister was younger or older, or how far apart the siblings were agewise.
So: YOU’RE WELCOME, BRO-DORK.
Now, I’m being judgey, since apparently brothers aren’t entirely useless. Provided they’re not assholes.
The study found that having a loving sibling of either gender promoted good deeds…
but brothers don’t offer the same protection against depression. This CNN story guesses that sisters are better at communicating than brothers, which may or may not be true, but the article leaves it at that. Of course, I’m wondering about the highly-gendered family roles that women and men are encouraged to play, but there doesn’t seem to be any information on that in this study.
I know that the Dude was a genuine boon to his Sister, and even though they are very different people, they’re still very close and mutually supportive. And if I’m honest, Bro-Dork wasn’t only my torturer. (Just most of the time.) And once he went off to college, things got exponentially better. Thank maude.
Siblings make us vulnerable, for better and worse. Even now, my brother can push my buttons–the ones for laughter as well as fury–faster and harder than anyone else in the world, including my mom and the Dude. And I love him, even if it’s not always easy. I still would have liked a sister, though.
Do you have siblings? What’s your take on this study?
Also: THEME MUSIC BONUS!