How brothers and sisters shape who we are.
by Ben Healy
We don’t choose our siblings the way we choose our partners and friends. Of course, we don’t choose our parents either, but they usually make that up to us by sustaining us on the way to adulthood. Brothers and sisters are just sort of there. And yet, when it comes to our development, they can be more influential than parents. This holds whether they are older and cool, or younger and frustrating; whether we follow in their footsteps, or run screaming in the other direction.
Part of siblings’ sway has to do with their sheer presence. Eighty-two percent of kids live with a sibling  (a greater share than live with a father), and about 75 percent of 70-year-olds have a living sibling.  For those of us who have brothers or sisters, our relationships with them will likely be the longest of our life.
Whether these relationships make our life better or worse is a more complicated question. On the upside, positive interactions with siblings during adolescence foster empathy, prosocial behavior, and academic achievement.  This effect can be complicated by a full house, however. Kids with more...continue reading
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The public perception of Muslim women is one of stubborn stereotypes: supposedly powerless and oppressed, behind walls and veils, demure, voiceless and silent figures, discriminated and bereft of even basic rights.
Contrary to this general belief, Muslim women have held the flag of enlightenment throughout history. The early Muslim community recognised and honoured a wide spectrum of female roles and responsibilities. A mother was considered the first school for her children. In Islam, a woman is seen as an individual in her own right, an independent entity, and not a shadow or adjunct to her husband or any other man. Islamic history abounds with women, both past and present, who have achieved and contributed significantly to intellectual and cultural life in the Islamic world.
One such iconic female figure was Khadijah bint al-Khuwaylid (565-623), the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), whom she met when she was the widow of a wealthy merchant and was herself a highly successful and respected businesswoman.
Khadijah was the daughter of...
What does it take to be a good parent? We know some of the tricks for teaching kids to become high achievers. For example, research suggests that when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated. Despite the significance that it holds in our lives, teaching children to care about others is no simple task. Are some children simply good-natured — or not?
There are plenty of times when parenting a strong-willed, sometimes disobedient child is a difficult, exhausting endeavor, it turns out there are plenty of benefits to a little bit of naughtiness or disobedience. Research shows that disobedient children earn more as adults and are also more likely to be entrepreneurs. As it turns out, some rather intelligent children who defy authority or challenge the status quo tend to think more outside the box, lending them a certain creative upper hand when it comes to new ideas and starting businesses. Entrepreneurs tend not to play by the rules.
Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University, explains that