When the researchers studied sibling bullying they did not extend past adolescents, but much of counseling deals with sibling rivalry and bullying behavior. Sometimes siblings form alliances against one of the other siblings, and cut them out of the family entirely. A child who grew up being picked on may continually be picked on well into adulthood. It is not uncommon for a parent to begin over protecting this child and continue into adulthood. Children of the "weaker picked on child/adult" are favored over children of the bully child (now adult). These patterns, unless intervened with in childhood, can forever change family dynamics, making them toxic and uncomfortable for family and friends.
Intervening in sibling rivalry should be done with careful thought and diligence. Allowing siblings to work out their own jealousy and conflict is important, but when parents are both working and one sibling is angry and aggressive repeatedly toward another child, the child being picked on may become victimized with little recourse. Many times children are told if they tell a parent, they will be hurt or worse, and if a child worries about being beat on they will begin showing physical and emotional signs of distress. There are ways parents can intervene wisely when children are fighting too much. Below are suggestions to help your kids improve their relationships with one another.
Parents who raise children who have learned how to resolve conflict and still love one another are gifting their children and generations to come. Home is where the heart is, and it is suppose to be safe. If you are a child and you live in fear of being home with the people who are suppose to love and care for you, your home becomes a war zone. There is no love or peace in a child's memory or the adult they grow to become. -Mary Jo Rapini
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