Sibling Bullies

Bullying – How children can discourage bullying                            

Bullies are universally seen in school settings. If teachers become aware of a bully, they may be able to end the behavior. If not, they can report it to the parent. What happens when the bully is among siblings?

Sibling bullies are not different from school bullies. Many reasons cause bullying between siblings. A child may feel vulnerable or jealous sharing parent’s attention; then lash out with a dominating or authoritative attitude, or bad habits may have been learned watching adult interactions.

The University of Michigan Health System explored an insightful view on signs of sibling abuse. It may be by chance that a parent overhears a conversation or observes a dilemma and actually finds out what’s happening. The bullied child may have disturbed sleeping or eating patterns, the child may avoid the bully, or child may act out inappropriately.

When exposed, the bully stops the behavior. The victim is given the opportunity to speak up. If bullying continues, the child can become prey for more bullies. Worse, they could bully other children.

With the right tools, a parent witnessing an incident can observe the child solving the problem on their own. It is important that children have tools to work with before there is a problem. StopBullying.gov assists in discouraging bullying. Anti-bullying tools can be used to fit the diverse families.

Role modeling – Are parent’s bullies to other adults, family, or children? 

Safety – If there is trust and protection between the parent and child, bullying can be dissolved sooner.

Role play – Both can see how it is to be in the other’s shoes.

Self awareness- How well do the children understand their own feelings and emotions?

Encouragement and building of self esteem – Children should know they are loved. They should be praised for what they do well and what they have improved on in school, in behaviors, and in relationships.

Morals, values, and principles. – The bullying child should know bullying is not condoned in the home. The bullied child should know they have rights and it’s ok to speak up and not be afraid…especially in their own home.  

When children have the right tools to work with; not just for bullying, but any situation; it is amazing how resilient they become and how they can help the bully to back off; even if it is a brother or sister.