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Do you pity your poor little baby brother, whom you tormented for years with green eyeshadow makeovers, disastrous whittling lessons, brutal roadtrip bickering, and constant taunts that despite looking exactly like you, he was adopted? Well stop feeling bad, pal! A new study says sibling rivalry is good for kids.

Sibling rivalry makes kids smarter, more mature, and better at figuring out social interactions, The Guardian's Amelia Hill reports on the findings. Talk about a blink-worthy conclusion to drop on suburban parents: even put-downs that grow steadily more brutal as the kids age aren't so bad, as long as they also grow steadily more verbally sophisticated. Every zing is motivation to do one better.

"The more combative siblings are, and the more they argue and the older child puts the younger one down, the more they are learning complex lessons about communication and the subtleties of language," says researcher Claire Hughes, who conducted a five-year study on siblings at the University of Cambridge's Centre for Family Research. "The more the children upset each other, the more they learn about regulating their emotions and how they can affect the emotions of others." The kids can then take these lessons and apply them outside the home, against outsiders.

[Sharon Mollerus/ Flickr]

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