When the Bully Is a Sibling

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206984814_4a8729add4Bullying in schools has been quite the epidemic and this is a very serious issue in communities where bullying results in tragic endings.  What happens when the bully is not someone  who lives outside of the home?  Having a sibling as  a bully may do as much psychological damage to a child than a peer bully.  New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression between siblings can inflict psychological wounds as damaging as the anguish caused by bullies at school or on the playground.

The new study, which involved thousands of children and adolescents around the country, found that those who were attacked, threatened or intimidated by a sibling had increased levels of depression, anger and anxiety.

Why hasn’t this issue been addressed sooner?

According to Dr. Corinna Jenkins Tucker “There appears to be different norms of acceptability. Peer aggression is unacceptable, but it’s not the same for siblings.”  In the new report, Dr. Tucker and her colleagues studied 3,600 children using data from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, which collects information on children and teenagers under 17.  Over all, a third of the children in the study reported being victimized by a brother or sister in the previous year, and their scores were higher on measures of anxiety, depression and anger.

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Picture by Wandering Istra 

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