It turns out my rah-rahing for having a second baby is actually backed up by science. Who knew? Well now we all do thanks to this new book The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger, and his interview on Salon. Kluger tell us that yes, siblings really do matter. And if you have one, you should take full advantage of that relationship, because it's the only one you'll have for your entire life.
Kluger acknowledges that not everyone has an awesome relationship with their brothers and sisters, but after he shows why it's so important, he encourages us all to pick up the phone and foster closeness with the sibs. Something we should also try and do with our own children by not setting them up to be rivals.
So just in case you're on the fence about having another baby, here are five great things about adding that second baby to the brood.
1. Awesome Conflict Resolution
There's no better peer to learn from than a sibling. It's the first person you have to share with, starting with mom and dad. Whether the little one watches the older sister negotiate another piece of cake after dinner, or they both have regular knock-down drag-out fights, this is the relationship that gets you ready for the real world.
2. You Can Relax the Second Time Around
As the youngest in the family, I'm loathe to bring this study to light, but the numbers show higher IQs for the oldest child. Since this is a given, hey, why not just kick back and forget about the flash cards with the second baby? It can be your laissez-faire parenting moment. Because naturally the firstborn gets more resources, time, and attention from his parents and this can often result in a child more equipped intellectually. The good news is, if you aren't a middle child (and if you are, you're kind of screwed), you'll wind up being the only child after the oldest smarty-pants goes off to college. The little one can suck up those resources then, because that time actually does matter for development as well.
3. Kids Can Get in Some Dating Practice
No, not in a weird way. But it turns out you can identify a man who was raised with sisters, and a woman who was raised with brothers, within the time it takes to speed date. Which is a good thing, because boys with sisters tend to be more sensitive and more in tune with ladies, and girls with brothers know how to get along better with the dudes. Perhaps we can assume the same thing of gay dating, when the participants had same-sex sibs?
4. When Taking Care of the Parents
The one that everyone thinks about, for good reason, is totally true. When your parents have a health crisis, or just get old, you'll need someone else who totally gets it in the trenches with you.
5. The Bonding Over Death
And once the parents are gone, through death or divorce, you'll actually bond more to your sibling. Which is a good thing, because no one should have to go through all that pain by themselves.
Do you see these as benefits of having a second baby?
Something my kids handmade
A fun holiday at home with my family
Some time off!
Something just for me, like a plush robe