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Sibling rivalry ups social skills

Scientists have found that children who argue with their siblings are likely to do better in later life, and younger offspring arguing with their older siblings are more likely to be successful in later life.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2011 17:45 IST

Scientists at Cambridge University have found that children who argue with their siblings are likely to do better in later life, and younger offspring arguing with their older siblings are more likely to be successful in later life.

The researchers found that arguments between brothers and sisters actually increase social skills, vocabulary and development.

They say that falling out develops their competitive streak and helps them to become more popular and successful at school, which helps them in later life.

“When children are arguing my research makes the case that they are actually benefiting from the confrontation,” the Daily Mail quoted Claire Hughes, from Newnham College, Cambridge, as saying.

“Parents who are being worn down by constant bickering among children should take comfort in the fact that their children are learning important social skills.

“Second siblings do better in our tests and children who have better social understanding go on to be more popular in later life.

“The traditional view has been that having a brother or sister leads to a lot of competition for parents'' attention and love.

“In fact, the balance of our evidence suggests that children''s social understanding may be accelerated by their interaction with siblings in many cases,” she added.

The study involved the observation of the behaviour of 250 children.

Hughes’ study was published in her new book Social Understanding and Social Lives.