Growing up with siblings is a great experience.
I'm not throwing shade if you're an only child — OK, maybe I am a little — but seriously, I wouldn't be the person I am today without my two older brothers.
I say that with both a sentimental smile and a slight chip on my shoulder. But that's what sibling love is all about, right?
Anyway, if you have the classic love-hate relationship with your siblings and feel like having your mind properly blown, check out these awesome facts!
1. Your siblings literally shape who you are.
Whether you consciously realize it or not, you actually learn a whole lot about life from your siblings.
Even though you're mostly influenced by your parents, a brother or sister can teach you all you need to know about some of the more informal skills in life, like how to act at school or how to seem ~cool~ around your friends.
Laurie Kramer, a professor of applied family studies at the University of Illinois, elaborates on this for ScienceDaily:
Siblings are closer to the social environments that children find themselves in during the majority of their day, which is why it's important not to overlook the contributions that they make on who we end up being.
2. Having a younger sibling is good for your health.
According to a recent study led by researchers at the University of Michigan, becoming a big brother or sister before a certain age can lower your risk of becoming obese.
In the study, the birth of a new sibling is associated with a healthier body mass index, especially if the older sibling is between the ages of 2 and 4 at the time of the child's birth.
If you're thinking these two things can't possibly be related, think about it this way: When a new sibling is born into a family, the parents will often change the way they feed their children — at least, that's what the authors behind this study speculate.
This sounds vaguely like parents trying to correct their mistakes after f'ing up with their firstborn, but hey, if it keeps us in shape, we'll take it.
3. The youngest sibling is the funniest.
Hell yeah I'm the funniest. *throws some sick finger guns at my two older brothers*
Research from YouGov shows, in a general sense, birth order can shape your personality, and any of the stereotypes we hold about our siblings actually turn out to be kind of true (at least in this study).
For example, the oldest child in a family tends to feel a greater weight of responsibility, while younger siblings characterize themselves as more easygoing, relaxed and, of course, funny.
4. Sisters protect their siblings from feeling blue.
Go give your sister a hug literally right now — she deserves it.
A study from Brigham Young University finds having a sister, even if she's younger than you, protects you from feelings of loneliness, guilt, fear and self-consciousness, especially if you're a young teen.
Laura Padilla-Walker, lead author of the research, sums up the take-home message for parents in ScienceDaily:
For parents of younger kids, the message is to encourage sibling affection. Once they get to adolescence, it's going to be a big protective factor.
5. Having a sibling of the opposite sex can help you get dates.
In Jeffrey Kluger's book "The Sibling Effect", he includes tons of fun facts — all backed up by science — about sibling relationships.
One set of studies he touches upon shows, when you pair people up in a speed-dating scenario, the men who grew up with sisters tend to be much better at conversing with the opposite sex, compared with those who grew up with brothers or as only children.
And the same turned out to be true for women who have brothers, as well.
There is ruggedness, a winking lack of complete seriousness or grimness, to a girl who grew up with brothers. There's a greater degree of sensitivity and listening skills in boys who grew up with sisters.
Happy National Siblings Day! Now go tell your sibs how much you love to hate them.
Citations: Siblings play formative, influential role as 'agents of socialization' (ScienceDaily), Younger sibling may be good for your child's health (ScienceDaily), It's true: birth order shapes personality (YouGov), Sisters protect siblings from depression, study shows (ScienceDaily), THE SIBLING EFFECT: 12 Amazing Facts About Brothers And Sisters (Business Insider)