January 26th, 2017
HOW TO ADDRESS SIBLING BULLYING
Sibling rivalry is normal in families with more than one child. It becomes a problem when one child dominates the other. If one of your children bullies his siblings and needs to control others by getting physical, it indicates some underlying emotional issues. Bullying is an effort to solve an emotional problem, often when a sense of imbalance or unfairness is felt. The victim who is being picked on often develops antagonizing methods of getting back at the bully. So, in order to avoid the escalation, you as a parent, needs to step in.
Here are a few tips on how to address sibling bullying:
1. Put an end to aggressive behavior. If hitting, pushing, name-calling are happening, you need to intervene immediately to stop it. Tell your child that this behavior is not acceptable and hold the bully responsible by stressing that bullying causes pain for their brothers and sisters. However, do not blame the bully. His behavior reflects difficult feelings that need to be acknowledged and validated.
2. Defuse jealousy that is often at the core of the bullying. As a parent, you do need to praise your children equally. Make sure that each child receives his share of love, affection, recognition, appreciation, and acceptance. Avoid comparison and remember that compliments equal love to your child.
3. Be a role model to your children. Show your children how to support and help one another and how to encourage healthy friendship among them.
4. Foster empathy. Studies show that empathy is one way of preventing bullying. If your child is empathetic, he will understand that bullying his siblings hurt them and will learn how to refrain from it.
5. Teach them how to solve problems so that everyone wins. Give them opportunities where they need to work collaboratively to get the job done. Make sure to supervise them so that everyone benefits from the collaboration.
Ideally, a family is a safe place where everyone feels loved and equal. When an imbalance appears, it needs to be solved quickly so that sibling bullying does not develop over time.
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As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.