Sibling bullying – is it just as damaging? - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Sibling bullying – is it just as damaging?

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(WTVM) -

Many children are bullied by their siblings and parents often overlook it.

But a recent study shows sibling bullying is just as damaging as that experienced at school or anywhere else.

If you ask any youngest child of the family, they'll probably tell you about the times their older siblings bullied them. But it turns out that even the mildest cases of bullying and aggression among siblings are just as damaging as those experienced at school.

Many would think that being the baby of the house meant getting spoiled with presents and affection, but Faaria Rahmon, a student at Clayton State University, says that has not been the case for her. She says she was bullied by her older brother until she turned 14.

"When I was younger, me and my big brother did not get along," Faaria said. "We fought everyday and he would do little stuff just to make me mad like push me around or say mean things just to make me mad. I kind of think it was because I was the youngest one in the family It went for a very long time and it was just really bad. I never thought that we'd be friends."

Casson Allen, Faaria's older brother by one year apart, pushed her around and teased her. Faaria says she never asked her brother why he often tried to pester her.

 "I used to think why to myself but I never actually asked him that," Faaria said. "I wasn't necessarily scared but I just didn't ask."

Clinical child psychologist Dr. Kevin Weis says he sees many patients come into his office because of sibling bullying.  He says parents play an important role in stopping hostile relationship among siblings.

"So some of the things that parents can do is that they certainly don't want to model the aggression," said Dr. Weis. "They should praise the good interactions that happen between the siblings so they are motivated to have good behaviors. The line of typical teasing has to do with,..is it intentional? Is it repeated? Does it happen over and over again?"

Dr. Weis says jealousy or even rivalry can be the main cause to sibling bullying.

"There's a lot of reason to all this but I think it's because the older one feels like he's being replaced by the younger one," said Dr. Weis. "The younger one is the chosen one because babies need more attention etc."

Dr. Weis said it's important to find compromise between the siblings to stop the bullying. It's important to sit down with your kid to help them understand the pain the bullying child is causing the other one. 

If the tension does not subdue, it's important to seek a counselor. Although Faaria did not enjoy her brother scaring her during her childhood, she says they are doing better now and that's good enough for her.

 "We're really close now, everyone thinks that we are best friends…we do a lot of things together," she said.

Dr. Weis also says it's important to find compromise among the siblings by trying to help the bullying child understand the pain the other sibling goes through is important. If the tension does not subdue, it's important to seek a counselor.

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