You and your siblings can probably commiserate over many a childhood memory. Giggling in your rooms well past your bedtime, running laps playing tag with each other inside the house, and sharing expert hiding spots during games of hide-and-seek might have been some of the brightest spots of your early childhood.
As you got older, your relationships with your siblings grew. You were there for each other's embarrassing moments, pulling gum from frizzy hair and delivering brutally honest feedback when a fashion fad was just not a good look. You cried to your sibling after breakups and lent an empathetic ear when relationships with your parents got rocky.
But the impact your siblings made didn't stop after you left home. And while there are some things about living with your siblings you probably won't miss (they can be so annoying), for the rest of your life you'll have your siblings to thank for the person you've become.
They taught you how to care for others
If you are the oldest sibling, it probably feels natural to have taken your younger siblings under your wing. And if you're the younger sibling, you know that even people older than you don't always have it all together. Your older sibling may have tried to put on a brave face most of the time, but you definitely saw them break down. Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to turn to when things get tough. For you and your siblings, you learned how to rely on and support each other.
They became your role models
Growing up, you had lots of role models. Celebrities, superheroes, your mom... But perhaps some of your most influential role models were actually your brothers and sisters. You probably aspired to be like them in at least one way, and that drive influenced your goals and your behavior.
They helped you succeed in work and school
Research backs this up: A study from Iowa State University showed that students with high-achieving older siblings ended up showing higher levels of academic achievement, as well. Maybe it's because your older sibling helped you with your homework or maybe you just felt the pressure to be as successful as they were in class. Whatever the reason, your sibling probably helped drive your ambition in school.
You picked up on their mannerisms
Ever notice how when you hang around a friend for a while, you start picking up their quirks and sayings? That's because you adopt the socialization patterns of the people you spend time around. And in the case of your siblings, you probably spent a lot of time together. That time also occurred during the most formative years of your learning and development. You and your siblings probably share a lot more of those mannerisms than you think.
They taught you how to deal with conflict
If you have a sibling, you know: Brothers and sisters fight. And they fight a lot. Those petty jabs and yelling matches were likely your first foray into conflict - and, unless you eternally hate each other's guts, conflict resolution. You may not have felt it at the time, but having your toys stolen and farts laughed at taught you a lot!
They taught you patience
Speaking of laughing at farts: If you have younger siblings especially, you know they can be immature. Siblings poke each other. They irritate each other. They intentionally annoy each other. Having to deal with all of your pet peeves being prodded taught you an important lesson in patience. And you had to be very patient.
Your birth order has probably affected your career
Research shows that oldest children tend to be the most academically ambitious. More often than with other birth orders, these are the children who grow up to climb the ladder, compete for Ivy League admissions, and aspire to success in its most traditional sense. Faced with the prospect of outperforming their sibling, middle and younger children tend to engage in different types of activities like athletics, music or arts.
You learned healthy competition
Fighting for your parents' attention could get contentious. And that's not to mention all the other fabricated competitions you and your siblings created. Siblings can get competitive about anything from playing sports outside to braiding each other's hair. But through trial and error, you learned how to compete fairly and civilly - for the most part, at least.
They continue to make you happier
A study published in The International Journal of Aging & Human Development found that while relationships with children and friendships did little to affect life satisfaction in adults over 80, relationships with siblings did. Older adults who stayed in contact with their siblings reported higher levels of life satisfaction overall.
They've helped you connect with others
You might have felt like you spent too much time with your siblings when you were a kid, but all that quality time actually made you better at spending time with others. Strong sibling bonds have shown in studies to help children better connect with their peers at school.
They helped you get comfortable talking to the opposite sex
Studies show that people who have siblings of the opposite sex are actually better at talking to strangers of the opposite sex. Depending on your sexuality, you may have your siblings to thank for whatever romantic success you've had.
They have boosted your self-esteem
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Siblings can be brutal to one another, teasing and mocking relentlessly. But despite all the cruelty, your siblings actually do help boost your self-esteem. Research shows that people with siblings have higher levels of self-esteem long term.
They taught you to share the spotlight
In life, you can't always be the center of attention. Having siblings taught you that firsthand. Sure, it would have been cool to hoard all of your parents' love and affection, but that just wasn't how things worked. Sometimes it was all about you, sometimes it wasn't.
They grew your sense of humor
For one, your siblings probably helped you learn to take a joke at your own expense. But you also probably shared some really good times joking about other things. All the giggling at the dinner table, snickering in the backseat of your parents' car, and raucous laughter at everyone's embarrassing moments all contributed to your (obviously great) sense of humor today.
They helped you learn to stand up for yourself
You weren't going to let them just tease you and get away with it. And there was no way your sibling was getting first dibs on riding shotgun every time. Whatever your petty sibling battles, they taught you how to speak up and assert yourself when needed.
They taught you compromise
Making decisions for the whole family can be difficult, especially when siblings disagree. Say your family was headed to the movies; you wanted to see the new superhero movie, but your dumb sister wanted to watch a rom com because the actor had flippy hair. How did you decide? Compromise came in handy for joint decisions like these, and you learned early that things don't always go 100 percent your way.
They made you more empathetic
By pure virtue of having spent way more time around other people (and having seen your siblings at their best and their worst), your understanding of human emotions was probably helped out a lot because you have siblings. The empathy you learned from these scenarios was probably taken with you and applied to your adult relationships, as well. Studies show that people who experienced sibling affection were more sympathetic outside the home.
You learned to share
Sharing is caring! How many times did you hear that phrase growing up? Sharing is drilled into every kindergarten student's brain as a virtue, but kids with brothers and sisters had even more practice. Every Christmas, presents had to be shared. Every time your parents brought home a treat, you learned that you'd all split it in half. Choosing what to watch on television was an endless practice in sharing screen time. You might not have always liked it, but it certainly made you into a better adult.
They influenced your eating habits
Yes, even the way you eat is in partly the fault of your brothers and sisters. You can't blame them fully next time you have a late-night candy binge, but their tastes and preferences probably influenced yours. Just like other quirks you pick up from your siblings, eating habits are passed around, as well. If your brother turned up his nose at boiled carrots, you were less likely to get excited when they plopped on your plate. Some of those preferences probably carried with you through to adulthood. You'd probably still love to sit down with your siblings and share some of these childhood desserts you probably forgot existed.
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