Caitlin St John
February 19, 2015

Sibling rivalry is a common occurrence in many households, and altercations between a brother and a sister are not typically labeled as bullying.

But these conflicts are not something to be taken lightly, because aggressive sibling behavior is defined as sibling bullying. And new research confirms that bullying between siblings at home is actually more common than bullying between peers at school.

The new study, published in the Journal of Family Violence, surveyed approximately 400 undergraduate students about their childhood experiences. A checklist was used to determine which physical and verbal experiences fit into the category of bullying. The result: students expressed bullying behaviors among their siblings more often than among their peers.

"It's understood that kids who are bulliers at school are sometimes being bullied at home, oftentimes by a sibling, though sometimes by a parent," Dr. Gail Saltz, a New York psychiatrist, told NBC News.

And even more surprising, students who experienced sibling bullying were more likely to think it was normal childhood behavior and to downplay it. "And those who had been bullied by a sibling were less likely to report someone else being harassed to an authority figure," reports NBC News.

Although the occasional sibling scuffle may not seem like something to stress over, the emotional and mental impact of sibling bullying on your child may be just as harsh as school bullying. So in order to combat instances that involve peer bullying, like cyberbullying, attitudes and behaviors at home must first be evaluated.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She's a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Image: Girl teasing boy via Shutterstock



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