Being picked on by a sibling may seem like a normal part of growing up, but according to researchers, it may cause some kids to experience mental health problems.
Amy Norton at HealthDay.com reports on a new study that found that kids who are bullied by a brother or sister–either physically or verbally–had higher scores on measures of depression and anxiety.
Corinna Jenkins Tucker, a professor of family studies at the University of New Hampshire, points out that parents have historically viewed fighting among siblings as normal—or even “good” for kids because it teaches them how to deal with the real world.
She says that parents and other adults tend to be more forgiving when siblings smack or taunt each other — even if they would never allow that kind of behavior between their children and their kids’ friends.
Dr. Tucker says parents should be more aware of the way their kids fight or tease each other. But she points out that the new study has a number of limitations, and it’s not clear that that being picked on by a sibling can actually cause depression and anxiety.
It’s also isn’t clear whether it makes a difference if the bullying comes from a sibling who is much older or around the same age — or whether it’s between sisters, brothers or sisters and brothers.
By the way, a full one-third of kids surveyed said they’d been the target of one type of sibling bullying: physical; verbal abuse, such as name-calling; or having their things stolen or purposely ruined.
I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.
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