Bullying brothers and sisters

  • Study finds being picked on by siblings may be harmful to your health
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While bullying by peers is a recognized problem, bullying by siblings is often overlooked, but a new study finds being picked on by a brother or sister can be harmful to a child's mental health.

Dr. Kate Eshleman a child psychologist at Cleveland Clinic says, "it can be a variety of things. so, more of the psychological calling names, a lot of verbal teasing, destruction of property, stealing items, breaking items, that sort of thing."

University of New Hampshire researchers surveyed nearly 3,600 children, they found in cases of mild physical abuse, kids up to age 9 showed greater mental health distress than those ages 10-17.

When comparing sibling bullying versus bullying done by peers, researchers say both independently have an effect on a child's mental health. They recommend efforts to slow or stop sibling bullying that are similar to those in place to stop bullying by peers.

Dr. Eshleman says pay close attention to how your children interact with each other and what their mood is like afterwards.

"Do you notice differences in your child's behavior? do you see differences over time? is the child becoming more sad, more withdrawn?"

Complete findings for this study are available online in the journal "pediatrics."