Brothers and sisters teach each other about empathy from a young age

Brothers and sisters teach each other about empathy from a young age

Brothers and sisters have a much bigger impact on their sibling’s development of empathy then you may think. According to a recent research, children whose brothers and sisters are kind, warm and supportive they are more empathetic then children’s brother and sisters who lack these characteristics. From the research it was proven that both older and younger sibling’s had an effect on their other sibling’s development of empathy and not just parents or older siblings.

Previously it was thought that siblings influenced one another more in their teenage years. However, the research suggests that this process may begin much earlier on in life then once believed. Researchers at the University of Calgary decided to look at 452 sibling pairs and their mothers over the period on 18 months. This was looking at both older and young siblings and if they have a positive influence on one another.

Each sibling joined a play session in their home separately and the researcher would pretend to hurt themselves or break a valuable toy. The child’s reaction would then be recorded. Meanwhile, their mothers would take a questionnaire for further development. This was then tested again 18 months later. When comparing the two sets of videos across the 452 diverse sibling groups, a small change in statistics showed a positive increase on children’s empathy levels. From the results, they also showed that children under the age of three demonstrated that they play a part in developing their sibling’s empathetic concerns.

According to the new developed research, the bigger the age gap between the siblings the greater the impact will be with their sibling’s development of empathy. This can also, help towards creating a more rewarding sibling relationship and creating less of a pressure on older siblings and parents to teach empathy to younger members of the family.