When I was born, I was introduced to my sister, my only sibling. From the beginning we were thick as thieves, we did everything together. She slept in my cot, she shared my bottle, but I didnt mind. As we grew older our differences became clearer. I was shy, and she was outgoing, I was selfless, and she was selfish, but only in some ways. However, our differences taught us many things about each other and how to accept the other just the way they were.
As she got into her teens we began to grow apart. We worried about different things had different issues and we could not relate to each other anymore. I was still a child worrying about if I had put my pencil case in my bag, and she was worrying about things I could not begin to understand. I felt that she was always against me and then one day we began to grow closer.
I was a bit older and was beginning to understand the world, and she was finally growing mature and accepting that I was still young and did not know as much as she did. Although we have had copious amounts of ups and downs about the silliest things, we are now closer than ever. I realized that nobody could annoy me the way she did and nobody could annoy her the way I did. So, in a way, it is comforting to know that someone understands me the way she does. Having a sister was shown to be more important and influential on other siblings and helped give a mental boost in a way no parent could. Over 400 families showed that regardless of age distance having a sister protected the other siblings against feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful. Even enduring in fights, it helped form important tools that the siblings could learn from. They taught them how to control emotion better, to be more patient, to challenge yourself, to share, to work as a team, to forgive and to love unconditionally. It was shown the children with sisters were less likely to experience loneliness, depression, and shame and were also more motivated, kind, resilient and had closer friendships. Sibling relationships were found to be more important to sisters than they are to brothers, but that doesnt deny the need for both to have a special sibling bond. Studies show that having a brother can lower your stress levels by making you laugh and help you appreciate the little things in life. Growing up with brothers can make you more of a sympathetic person and can promote selflessness in teenagers which could spread through the rest of the family. Child psychologist Dr Terri Apter says, ‘Siblings know you better than anyone. They may not always admire you, but theyll always be intensely interested in you. If you ask a sibling to describe a parent, a friend or sibling, it is the sibling that the child will describe with most sophistication and detail, regarding their character and habits. This is why they are so significant’. Not only can siblings boost mental health, but strong social ties may help you live longer, according to research published in the Journal Medicine. On average, those with poor social connections died about 7.5 years earlier than those with solid bonds to friends and family. That is about the same difference in length of life as the gap between smokers and non-smokers. This may be because caring about our friends and family inspires us to take better care of ourselves or it may be because we turn to loved ones when we are sick or stressed. No matter the reason, keeping that strong connection with our siblings could help us live a longer, happier, and healthier life. In Beijing, China in 1979, the law declaring the one-child policy was introduced. Scientists compared children born before the law and after, it was shown that the children born into the new law were not only less trusting, less trustworthy, more pessimistic, less competitive, less conscientious and more risk-averse. These children were found to be more focused on as there was only one of them which made them more intelligent than previous children with siblings. The children said that they felt that all the pressure from family was placed on them and that if there was another child than the pressure could have been shared. They also would feel freer to be able to do more things that interested them. The children were found to be more self-centred and privileged as they did not have to share their possessions with anybody else. By growing up with either an older sibling or younger sibling, you were either a teacher or were taught. My sister taught me many things along the way that has come in handy in my life. Learning how to forgive and forget was one of the very first lessons I had to learn when growing up. I had to accept our differences and learn not to hold grudges. She taught me how to stick up for myself even if I had to learn to fight against her. She taught me to know where my place was and when not to fight a battle, especially when it came to arguing with my parents. Together we taught each other how to be patient and that we could not always have things we wanted when we wanted it. I also learnt that life is sometimes just not fair and that her sitting in the front seat for two days in a row was just tough luck. And that I needed to think faster and smarter. Teacher relationships like these help provide children with their first peer interactions and the first opportunity to handle the different aspects of long-term and intimate relationships. In the book, The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers, and Sisters Reveal About Us, Jeffrey Kluger wrote, From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales. They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counsellors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts, and how not to; how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys. So, if you have a sibling, appreciate what they do for you, even if they can be a pain sometimes. A sibling is like a built-in best friend, support system and someone to go through life with. They will take care of you, encourage you and be there for you when you need them most especially through the good times and the bad. Although it may take time for you to reach a perfect brother/sister balance, they will always be there for you even through the thick and thin. Whether you have fought constantly throughout childhood, lost connection for a period or remained incredibly close from day one, your bond to your sibling will always come first. So, show them some love and appreciate them, because there is no better bond than a bond between siblings.