Children learn as much from their older brothers and sisters as they do from their parents, a study by Illinois University has found.
The researchers reckon that while parents are better role models in formal settings, for example teaching little ones table manners, children learn most informal habits from older siblings, for example acting ‘cool’ around friends.
“What we learn from our parents may overlap quite a bit with what we learn from our siblings, but there may be some areas in which they differ significantly,” says Laurie Kramer, who led the study in the states. ”Siblings are better role models of the more informal behaviours that constitute the bulk of a child’s everyday experiences.”
The team also think the research could help tackle anti-social habits, for example binge drinking, showing a clearer understanding of how siblings function as an ‘agent of socialisation’ for their younger brothers and sisters.