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written by Sam Greenspan

A baby child lying on a bed with his older sister.

Here’s what you can expect from different sibling combinations in your family. There are clear pros and cons in every case.

There was a survey published by that tried to figure out what combination of boys and girls leads to the happiest family. They surveyed parents with 12 common combinations of children (every possible combo of two through four kids) and asked them how well things have worked out.

Parents with only children weren’t included. As for families with more than four kids, I think they probably would’ve been included, except they couldn’t find any parents of those combos for the survey because they’re all institutionalized.

My beef with the survey is that they put together the rankings, they didn’t really elaborate. They explained the reasons for the best and worst combo, but didn’t tackle the in-betweens.

And that’s where I step in.

11 Combinations of Siblings for the Happiest Family Life

As an only child with no kids of my own, who better to tell everyone why their combination of brothers and sisters is a blessing and a curse, right?

Here are the 11 combos of boys and girls that, according to the survey, lead to the happiest families. And I’ve given my thoughts on the biggest pro and con of each one.

1 | Two girls

Biggest pro:

Two girls make the best sibling combination because they tend to be more communicative, empathetic, and collaborative than other combinations. Most likely, they’ll genuinely like each other and get along in a quiet-ish manner.

Biggest con:

A few parental decisions don’t go their way, and they form an axis of evil, manipulation, pettiness, and cattiness that would make the Austro-Hungarian Empire watch and take notes.

2 | One boy and one girl

Biggest pro:

Mixed genders offer the best of both worlds, and a one boy – one girl combination is just the right balance for a happy family dynamic. (Unlike the Jay-Z/R. Kelly best of both worlds, which made both of them worse, this really would be the best of both worlds.)

Biggest con:

It’s so generic and stereotypical. Having one boy and one girl is the familial equivalent of posting the Facebook status “It’s Sunday, just chilling at home, drinking a beer, watching TV… life is goood.”

Two cute siblings wearing yellow jacket.

3 | Two boys

Biggest pro:

Odds are, they may share hobbies and passions, such as sports or gaming, and that they become close friends whose fights get worked out in an efficient and direct manner.

Biggest con:

Make sure your health insurance is paid up because that “efficient and direct manner” is a euphemism for “the younger one is getting stitches.”

4 | Three girls

Biggest pro:

With three girls, there is always someone to talk to, play with, and share experiences with. And they will really bond with Uncles Jesse and Joey.

Biggest con:

House will become so passive-aggressive that dad will eventually have to join a fight club just for the relief of being directly punched in the face.

5 | Three boys

Biggest pro:

This sibling combination offers guaranteed toughness. They will be completely impervious to any physical punishment or taunting from others because it’s comical in comparison to what they get at home.

My friend Paul grew up with two brothers and says their most common game was to turn off all the lights in the basement and just start throwing punches in the dark for hours.

Biggest con:

Will carry competitiveness over food throughout life and find themselves never getting invited to any family-style dinners. Also, may stab a date with a fork in the hand if she takes an unsolicited bite of their mashed potatoes.

6 | Four boys

Biggest pro:

Best odds that you’re going to end up with a professional athlete. Or you can have the perfect Polo sports team, which is, by the way, one of the least popular sports. Or, at least, someone who can unscrew stuck pickle jars and get things off of high shelves.

Biggest con:

House will be so messy that it will eventually draw condemnation inspection from local and/or regional health department.

Four young sibling boys bending over the pier while looking into the waters with their skateboards parked close by.

7 | Two girls and one boy

Biggest pro:

This sibling combination creates a balance in the family, allowing for a diverse range of interests and personalities. The boy will become a sensitive, well-groomed, respectful gentleman.

Biggest con:

The boy will find himself unprepared when he’s hanging out with the guys, and they start making fun of him — which will make him a compressed ball of rage exploding at inopportune times. Also, he will find himself frustrated and in tears the first time he’s on his own and has to buy his own moisturizers.

8 | Two boys and one girl

Biggest pro:

Girl learns how to throw a baseball, not be grossed out by anything, and appreciate South Park.

Biggest con:

Girl finds herself woefully unprepared when entering the world of girls and gets eaten alive by underhanded girl psychological warfare. Or she can just throw punches at them, thinking that it’s the normal thing to do.

9 | Three boys and one girl

Biggest pro:

Girl is a stabilizing force for the three-boy chaos; having three brothers prepares the girl for basically every situation in life. Also, parents get to secretly have amazing debates over which boy represents Jerry, George, and Kramer in the dynamic.

Biggest con:

Girl ends up with a princess complex which is carried on throughout life and leads to a horribly regrettable “Beauty and the Beast”-themed wedding complete with invitations that say “Be Our Guest” and her parents caving and overpaying to have Peabo Bryson sing at the reception.

Otherwise, she may grow just as tough as her brothers and may occasionally beat down her man just to knock some senses into him.

A sibling combination of four very young kids - 3 boys and a girl, sitting on outside concrete stairs.

10 | Three girls and one boy

Biggest pro:

Ever-replenishing supply of built-in, nurturing babysitters.

Biggest con:


11 | Two boys and two girls

Biggest pro:

Um… perfect combination for mixed doubles in tennis?

Biggest con:

Perfect combination for every single debate to end in a stalemate and every single family car ride to end in tears.

That leaves us with the worst combo, four girls. According to the survey, they fight all the time, are impossible to deal with, and somehow require you to have seven or eight bathrooms to handle them.

But on the plus side, the price of dowries is way down. If you had four daughters a century ago, you’d better be running one hell of a goat farm.