Doing Life Together

teen bullyWith all the talk about bullying and its damaging effects on kids, we don’t often hear much about sibling bullying. Isn’t it normal for little Billy to push around his brother Joey?

Sibling bully, it turns out, is just as damaging to kids as other types of bullying. A new study  in the July journal of Pediatrics found that kids victimized by their siblings are at more risk  for depression, anxiety and anger. And the findings include both psychological and physical bullying, both mild and severe.

The study looked at 4 specific types of bullying:

1) Mild physical assault like being hit

2) Severe physical assault like being beaten

3) Property aggression like breaking a toy on purpose

4)Psychological aggression like name calling

When a child was a victim of the above, he or she had lower scores on overall well-being.

So parents, watch your kids when they interact and stop any repeated one-way bullying of a sibling. Not only will the sibling learn better ways to deal with his brother or sister, but you will improve the mental health of the victimized child.

The home is one place you have control over teaching your children appropriate ways to behave interpersonally. If more parents would discipline bullying in this home, maybe  we would see fewer bullies in the school place as well. And this also means mom and dad need to model healthy relationships as well.

Parenting Tips: 

1) Hold kids responsible for their behavior. Don’t let them justify being aggressive to a sibling. Set limits on what is right and wrong.

2) Referee arguments that get out of hand. Teach your kids to solve conflict without becoming aggressive. Let them work problems out without you, but step in when they cross the line.

3) Identify feelings of jealousy and envy, but teach your kids how to handle those feelings. Get at what is behind those feelings.

4) Reinforce the idea that we are family and take care of each other. You have to model this on the parent level as well.

5) Fill your home with love and nurturing, praising often and tangibly showing love by spending time with your kids. A secure and safe environment goes a long way to preventing bullying.

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