When Sibling Rivalry Becomes Sibling Bullying

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Parenting Tips for Sibling Rivalry
Brothers and sisters will always fight, but when does it become dangerous?

Intervening in sibling rivalry should be done with careful thought and diligence. Giving siblings the chance to work out their own issues and conflicts is important, but when parents are busy or not present, there can be a tendency for one sibling to repeatedly victimize another, and this pattern continues unchecked. Many times, the bully tells their sibling victim that if they "tattle" to a parent, there will be consequences. Naturally, a child that is in distress over physical or emotional harm is not a child at his or her healthiest. Thankfully, there are ways parents can intervene when sibling rivalry becomes sibling bullying.

1. Speak to bullies frankly: "It is OK to get mad, but not okay to act in a way that is hurtful to someone else."  Make clear that you do not tolerate bullying behavior, and then follow through with consequences. 

2. If you have an angry or aggressive child, encourage empathy by rewarding signs of it in your home. Limit violent TV and movies. Keep reading...

Article contributed by

Mary Jo Rapini

Counselor/Therapist

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