Social skills of children are not affected if they grow up without siblings, a new research has revealed.
"I don't think anyone has to be concerned that if you don't have siblings, you won't learn the social skills you need to get along with other students in high school," said Donna Bobbitt-Zeher from Ohio State University.
AdvertisementShe added that kids who don't have peer interaction at home have plenty of opportunities to mingle with kids at school through extracurricular activities and sports.
"As family sizes get smaller in industrialized countries, there is concern about what it might mean for society as more children grow up without brothers and sisters," said Bobbitt-Zeher.
In fact, an earlier study showed that children without siblings showed poorer social skills in kindergarten compared with those who had at least one sibling.
This new study was designed to see if that advantage to having siblings persisted as children become adolescents.
In the study, each student was given a roster of all students at their school, and was asked to identify up to five male and five female friends.
The results showed no significant differences in the number between those who had siblings, and those who had none.
The number of siblings a teen had didn't matter, and it didn't matter if those siblings were brothers, sisters or some combination, or if they were stepsiblings, half-siblings or adopted siblings.
Other factors including socio-economic status, parents' age, race, and whether a teen lives with both biological parents or not also made no difference.
Bobbitt-Zeher noted that the earlier study of kindergarteners was based on teacher ratings of social skills, while the teen study used friendship nominations by peers.
More importantly, she believes that children learn a lot about getting along with others between kindergarten and high school.
"Anyone who didn't have that peer interaction at home with siblings gets a lot of opportunities to develop social skills as they go through school," she concluded.
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