Multiple siblings may lower risk for divorce

Multiple Siblings may help decrease risk of divorce new study suggests

Most of us who grew up in a large family intuitively understood that we made sacrifices, learned to share, had built in playmates, honed our emotional intelligence, learned gratification deferment and had our selfish desires challenged at every turn. We also had the benefit of having parental attention divided. No way a parent with five kids can hover and suffocate that many children. So despite what academics such as Toni Falbo argued, which was that an only child had “won the lottery of life,” those of us with multiple siblings understood something significant was born each time our parents decided to add another child to the brood.

Nature World Report suggests children benefit from having multiple siblings

Now, in a recent study by Nature World News report there is more evidence that having multiple siblings may provide a benefit to children.  The recent study suggests, “for every extra sibling a person has (up to seven), his or her risk for divorce decreases by 2 percent.”

The study, which was presented August 13 at the 108th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, is a compilation of interviews with 57,000 adults between 1972 and 2012. Based on the study results, they “found that people from larger families with multiple siblings have a decreased risk for divorce, possibly because they are better equipped to deal with the stress of marriage compared to children from smaller families.”

“Growing up in a family with multiple siblings, you develop a set of skills for negotiating both negative and positive interactions. You have to consider other people’s points of view (and) learn how to talk through problems,” Doug Downey, co-author of the study and a professor of sociology at Ohio State University, told Nature World News.

Most people know this to be true. How many times did you have to share the television with your brother or sister? Negotiate who would ride in the front seat of the car and when? Decide who got to go first in a game? We all know that the more siblings you have the more chances you have to practice skills of negotiation and learn to think about someone other than yourself.

Multiple Siblings may be just part of the divorce story

Of course there are many factors which may hinder a child’s ability to develop appropriate skills to manage conflict as an adult. Although not addressed in the study, it is also likely that some of the children studied grew up in divorced or broken homes where the ideal of marriage may not have been as strongly celebrated. I remember my mother saying repeatedly, “Divorce is not an option.” Going into marriage with this ideal can also strengthen a marriage.

Other experts remain unconvinced having multiple siblings lowers divorce, claiming “there are lots of opportunities to gain interpersonal skills.” While this is definitely true, it needs to be acknowledged that the family unit and specifically having multiple siblings, forces children to think of someone other than themselves and this thoughtfulness is one strong ingredient that will later help build a lasting and health relationship within a marriage.

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