After all these years celebrating life as an only child, I may have celebrated too soon. I recently learned that 90% of the population may have an upper hand when it comes to having a brother or a sister. Because while it may be the relationship that has the most conflict in your life, it is also the relationship that first teaches you about an important concept: theories of mind.
Theory of mind is having the capability to know that other people have different beliefs, feelings, and attitudes other than your own. No, the world does not revolve around you and chances are, if it’s your way or the highway—people are likely to take the highway. Having the capacity to understand theories of mind is highly beneficial for interactions between peers, and especially when it comes to later relationships in your life. Interestingly enough, the more siblings people have, the sooner they develop these theories of mind.
At the same time, your relationship with your sibling may be the most rife with conflict. This is often due to differential parental investment theory, which suggests that children compete for their parents’ affection and attention in order to survive. But hopefully as you age, this diminishes and you find yourself growing closer with your sibling. As for me, I guess I’ll grow closer with my cat.
Hope you enjoyed a little dose of psychology this morning!
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook