Feb 202015
sibling bullying

Sibling bullying hurts. Photo by marin/freedigitalphotos.com

Researchers from the University of Lincoln-Nebraska believe the familiar sibling rivalry within families is undermining the efforts to stop sibling bullying, along with peer-to-peer bullying. The researchers noticed the respondents of their study who experienced sibling rivalry when they were younger were less likely to report peer-to-peer bullying.

Furthermore, they hypothesized the respondents were so ‘used to it’ growing up that they could have thought it was not worthy to be reported as legitimate bullying.

This flawed reasoning resonates with the people who are assumed experts with bullying behaviors, also.

With all due respect for her efforts to address bullying and cyberbullying, the founder of Stomp Out Bullying criticized the research emphasizing sibling rivalry started many years ago and will continue its practice in the future. She claims the word ‘bullying’ is just a hot keyword for everyone to use now.

While I do agree sibling rivalry is part of growing up with relentless brothers and sisters, I do not agree that sibling rivalry should be minimized or confused with sibling bullying. These are two different concepts which should be addressed accordingly.

Sibling rivalry does not consistently mentally torment anyone. It does not cross the line into emotional, psychological and physical abuse. It also considers the maturity levels of all the children.

Unfortunately, the ‘so-called’ experts suggest letting the children settle differences on their own with no regard to the emotional intelligence and maturity of each child. This means, the older and wiser siblings can torment the younger ones with the parents and caregivers looking the other way. Or maybe it’s the younger ones tormenting the older ones?

Is it any wonder we have angry and frustrated kids?

There is a difference between teasing and tormenting as there is a difference in sibling bullying and rivalry! If both are laughing, it’s okay. If only one is laughing, it’s not okay!

I may be alone in my opinion, but I do not feel the parents should let the kids settle their own differences. They need to teach the children proper social behavior and how to resolve disagreements without resorting to bullying behaviors. This is called ‘parenting.’

Once this is taught, the children will know how to settle their differences in an acceptable way without parental intervention and will make life so much easier for the whole family.

Apparently, this simple approach appears to be missing in our (adult) society today. Parent your children.