Studies show that healthy and positive sibling relationships lead to many benefits that help children develop and mature in unique and important ways. These benefits include, increased ability to make and maintain friendships, increased ability to get along with people from different backgrounds, increased ability to comfort and help others, and increased emotional awareness.
In a study conducted by Lansford, Ceballo, Abbey, and Stewart, researchers have found that these positive effects of sibling relationships are equally or more prevalent in instances were adopted children are raised in families with multiple adopted children or adopted and biological children. When children are brought up together as siblings, there is little to no differentiation (by children or by parents) about which child is adopted and which is biologically related. This means that the relationships between children in families with multiple adopted children or adopted and biological children are just as strong and important as those between biological children. In fact, as Lansford, Ceballo, Abbey, and Stewart note in their research, there are certain relationships that are even stronger than usual in a family with adopted children. They observed that adopted children were even more likely to want to get married and have children of their own when they reached adult age. This is potentially a result of the strong sibling and parent bonds when they were young. Sibling relationships encourage many of the developments we see in individuals as they mature. These ties help children grow and learn, allowing them to discover their identities and have confidence in themselves.
It also gives these individuals a life-long support system, providing them with someone to lean on when needed, someone who has known them forever and who will understand them and support them unconditionally.
- Lansford, Jennifer E.; Ceballo, Rosario; Abbey, Antonia; and Stewart Abigail J. “Does Family Structure Matter? A Comparison of Adoptive, Two-Parent Biological, Single-Parent, Stepfather, and Stepmother Families.” Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 63, No. 3 (Aug., 2001). Pages 840-851. Web: accessed through JSTOR Online.
- Hsiu-Chen Yeh, and Jacques D Lempers. “Perceived Sibling Relationships and Adolescent Development. ” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 33.2 (2004): 133. Web: accessed through Platinum Periodicals, a service of PROQUEST Online.
- Slade, Margot. “Siblings: Growing Up And Closer: For Siblings, Ties That Bond and Bind. ” New York Times (1923-Current file) 25 Jul 1991, ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2006). Web: accessed through PROQUEST Online.