One of the most important bonds for a child is the one they have with their siblings. Having a brother or sister is a very valuable resource that brings many benefits in both social and cognitive development. It is a relationship that also offers many advantages when it comes to health. It is a special and indissoluble bond that lasts forever.
Children who have a brother or sister from the first years of their lives are forced to share (a toy or a room, for example) and this will help them develop the value of sharing, which will make the child more altruistic with other children and also when they are an adult. It will also help them improve group skills and teamwork. Siblings share parents and this can cause jealousy that, if handled properly by the father and mother, will have no consequences on the child’s development; on the contrary, it will help them develop their social and emotional maturity. This feeling, in fact, will make future social relationships easier and more serene.
In addition to jealousy, sometimes in a relationship between siblings there is no shortage of small fights or disputes that, at first, could represent something negative. However, in reality they allow the fine-tuning of the social skills necessary to relate to others, promote growth and prepare them to face the world to the best of their ability. Therefore, contrary to what one might think, fights between siblings are a useful tool that is considered as an opportunity for the growth and maturing of the child, who in this way learns to solve problems in the best possible way.
But, despite the moments of jealousy and fights, two siblings who spend most of their time together will develop a deep love and friendship that will make them accomplices. Playing together, in addition to enjoying and improving their playing skills, the brothers learn to negotiate, to give in, to prioritize the needs of others and to develop greater generosity and empathy. The latter is, in fact, one of the main benefits of sibling relationships and is confirmed by a study conducted by the universities of Toronto, Calgary, Laval and the Israeli university of Tel Aviv. This research affirms that older siblings play a critical role in the lives of younger siblings and help them feel affection and empathy. Yet at the same time it argues that younger siblings also influence older siblings and therefore they help each other develop these skills.
As the study carried out by these universities confirms, the older sibling plays a very important role and, very often, is considered an indispensable figure and point of reference. For the younger sibling, they are a role model and sometimes they even try to “imitate” them to be like them. Older siblings learn the importance of caring for younger siblings and teach independence, autonomy, and the values of respect and cooperation. They gain a sense of responsibility towards younger siblings and this leads to greater imagination and flexible thinking. Younger siblings see older siblings not only as role models, but also as a source of companionship and their best confidants. They feel protected and turn to them in times of difficulty. This bond that is created in the first years of life will also extend into adulthood.
The relationship between siblings, as we have already mentioned, is very important for development at a social and cognitive level, but also with regard to health. In fact, it has beneficial health effects for both children and adults. According to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, having a brother or sister makes one much happier and helps one have higher self-esteem. This means that when you have a brother or sister, you feel less alone, more loved, and less insecure.
The bond between siblings also offers another advantage: it prolongs life. This is confirmed by a study carried out by several researchers and published in the journal PLoS Medicine. According to this study, having a brother or sister lengthens life by seven years. This is due to the fact that taking care of each other helps to take care of oneself, or the fact that in times of difficulty there is always someone willing to support and help us. In fact, the siblings support and help each other at all times, both in the moments of happiness and in the most complicated situations. They are a constant moral support and an emotional reference in the face of any situation and obstacle that comes their way. They are that safe haven to which you can always return, finding affection, warmth and support.
As we have already said, sharing is an important element in the relationship between siblings. Sharing a toy or a room teaches selflessness and helps develop skills that will be essential during growth and adulthood. But it is also important to share activities together. It can be a stimulating idea to dedicate some time to reading and, why not, read a personalized book, such as “The Magic Crown“, “Tandem Bike” or “Tandem Bike for Three“, so that they can experiment and learn more about the concept of sharing. What can be better than reading together with your brother or sister? All this is possible! At Materlu we will help your children strengthen the bond between siblings through reading.