Even if your kids seem like they're bickering all
the time, chances are that good things are still happening. Turns
out just having a sister around is enough to make little brothers
and sisters happier and less likely to get into trouble.
And brothers help, too-sibling affection means more good
behavior and less delinquency, says Laura Padilla-Walker, one of
the authors of a study on siblings done by the Flourishing Families
The researchers found having a sister protected teens from
feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious or fearful. It
didn't matter whether the sister was younger or older, or how far
apart the siblings were in age. Having a loving sibling of either
gender promoted more charitable attitudes and more good
"It's important to remind parents to foster positive
relationships earlier in childhood," says Padilla-Walker. "When
they get to teen years and when they maybe don't want to talk to
parents, they may talk to siblings."
Sibling relationships can go both ways, though. When
there's more hostility between siblings, there's more delinquency.
"As long as they have some affection as well, that affection seems
to be more strongly related to outcomes. But if all they have is
hostility, that can be problematic," Padilla-Walker
"Remember, a certain amount of bickering is
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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