Sibling Bullying Leaves Deep Psychological Scars

“Historically, sibling bullying has been accepted as something that´s normal, as something that´s benign. Oftentimes dismissed”

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Once upon a time fights between brothers and sisters were considered normal and part of the development of human beings, however, the Journal of Pediatrics has concluded that in the long term those who are bullied suffer depression, anger and anxiety.

Author Corrina Jenkins Tucker, is an associate professor of family studies at the University of New Hampshire, said “Historically, sibling bullying has been accepted as something that´s normal, as something that´s benign. Oftentimes dismissed”

The study was funded by U.S. Department of Justice and Centers for disease Control and Prevention and conducted by the research team from the University of New Hampshire.

The research team took a sample population from the database from the National Survey of Chiildren´s Exposure to Violence.

The samples are as they follow, 3, 599 children with age range of one month to 17 years old; each sibling is below to 18 years of age. There was an interview to 63 percent (white children);  13 percent (African-Americans); 18 percent (Hispanic); and six percent other races. Gender was equal.

The researchers found out that 32 percent of the children experienced sibling bullying within the last year. The effects of the study showed that these kids had a great risk of mental health distress. Meaning that one out of three children are being bullied by their siblings.

The questions that the researchers asked the children were about physical aggression, psychological aggression or even property aggression.

The investigation said that children of nine years old had a very negative impact, while children of 10 to 17 had a very mild impact.

Dr. Harriet MacMillan from University of Ontario said, “the main message for child health clinicians and people working with children is that psychological maltreatment is just as harmful as other types of maltreatment”.

The findings are very alarming, because the epidemic of bullied children is not only outside, but inside also.

The conclusion of this study is not minor; parenting is already a very hard task and now parents need to be more vigilant.

But there are certain measures that parents can use to avoid this type of behavior like;  Dr. Tucker suggested, that parents should not turn a blind eye to their kids´s fights and teasing.


bully 3According with the American Academy of Pediatrics there are some measures that parents can take:

– Talk with your children about bullying; even if you don´t think your child is bullied, a bully, or a bystander, you will be helping to protect your child.

– Teach your child how to stay in a firm voice.

– Parents need to advice their children when and how ask for help.

– Support activities that interest your child.

– Talk to your partner and make a plan together of how to face the situation.

– Identify the bully and the bullied. In the long run, bullies continue to have problems, and they get worse.

– If such behavior is allow, when those children become adults they less successful in their work and family lives.

– Set firm and consistent limits on your child´s aggressive behavior. Make sure your child knows that bullying is never OK

– Be a positive role model.

– Show children that they can get what they want without hurting, teasing or threatening.

– Use effective nonphysical discipline, such as loss of privileges.

– Help them understand how bullying hurts others.

Over time those who bullied and the bullies face similar patterns, for instance, Dr Dan Olweus, who is recognized as Founding Father of research on bully/victim problems;found out that being bullied in grades 6 and 9 could be linked to depression and lower self-esteem. Furthermore, those who bullied, shows that 60 % had a least one criminal conviction.

Olweus also said that, bullies move through life, also, using aggressive strategies in romantic relationships, in the work place;and in other areas of their lives.

By: Oskar Guzman

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