Sibling bullying is something that affects millions of people, especially children. In a recent study researchers questioned 3600 adolescents aged 10-17. The study found that 32% of the people questioned had experienced at least one type of sibling bullying in the last year.
The study showed that children who are bullied are at a much higher risk of developing mental health issues. It was also noted that regardless of how mild or severe the sibling bullying is, the effect on the child being bullied can be severe leading to various types of mental health issues.
Corinna Jenkins Tucker, associate professor of family studies at the University of New Hampshire said: “There is a natural emotional intensity to sibling relationships. There is a lot of love, but also the potential for a lot of conflicts.”
Professor Tucker then compares sibling bullying with peer bullying saying:
“Our work is showing that in some cases, the mental distress associated with sibling aggression is similar to what we see with peer aggression. It is something to be taken seriously.”
The research into sibling bullying, carried out by The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence defined ‘Bullying’ according to specific parameters. Namely, physical assault, property victimization and psychological aggression.
Interestingly, the study found that children who were even mildly assaulted or bullied by a sibling had greater mental distress than adolescents who were not.
Adolescents and children who were bullied by a sibling, as opposed to peers at school, fared a bit better than the victims of sibling bullying. Among other things, the study highlighted the distress caused to children who suffer the abuse and victimization of bullying, in their own homes and on a regular basis.
What can be done about the type of sibling bullying revealed in this study ? Do schools do enough to monitor their students and detect any potential abuse or does the responsibility rest more with the parent ? Share your comments below