October is bully awareness month and while many associate it with the schoolyard or cyberbully a recent study in the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics in part stated, “The possible importance of sibling aggression for children’s and adolescents’ mental health should not be dismissed.”
“Historically, aggression between children in the same household has been viewed as “typical sibling rivalry” and therefore parents have steered clear of using the word bully to describe that behavior," Dr. Roberts tells Examiner.com. "In fact, some people justify sibling aggression, stating that it teaches children from a young age how to manage conflict in relationships.”
“In the past 10 years, the anti-bullying movement has raised awareness considerably regarding peer bullying. But what about recognition of bullying on the home front? The same behaviors, instigated by the same children in different contexts; home and school, are viewed very differently. At home, pushing, shoving or teasing is accepted and viewed as “siblings just being siblings or learning to relate” whereas, at school this same behavior may be grounds for suspension or even expulsion. The new research indicates that there are consequences to children who are bullies and/or bullied at home and the ant-bullying movement needs to reach into homes and address this with parents and children."
Dr. Roberts says there are signs to look out for when it comes to sibling bullying. "Look for the “bully-victim” dynamic. One kid is the bully, usually the one who is older or stronger and he picks on his other sibling constantly. Because of this aggression, the child who’s being picked on often develops antagonizing methods of getting back at the bully."
Dr. Roberts says another indication of a sibling bullying is when one of your children has to be the boss and control others to the point of getting physical. "It indicates some underlying self-doubt and serious errors in thinking," says Dr. Roberts, The child is somehow justifying being hurtful to others in order to make themselves feel better."
Dr. Roberts offer these tips when it comes to sibling bullying:
- Take immediate action as a parent.
- Give consequences to every child who was involved, but if there’s a bullying situation, you have to take a stand.
- Parents should questions whether there is bullying behavior outside of the house.
- Parents need to address the situation head on as a family problem where everyone has a role and together they work to overcome the sibling bullying problem and support the bully to change their behavior.
For more tips and information on bullying and family issues click here to get to Dr. Robert's website. For more information about bullying click here. If you are looking for a children's book that helps children deal with bullying click here.