Quarrel Among Siblings Could Lead to Poor Mental Health

By Vishakha Sonawane, Parent Herald June 18, 11:10 am

A latest study states that quarrels among siblings could lead to mental health problems.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire found that a child being bullied by his or her sibling is as bad as being bullied by someone at school.

"Even kids who reported just one instance had more mental health distress. Our study shows that sibling aggression is not benign for children and adolescents, regardless of how severe or frequent," said Corinna Jenkins Tucker, associate professor of family studies at UNH and lead author of the research.

The researchers examined data of almost 3,600 children aged between one month and 17 years. The study showed that nearly 32 percent of these children were reportedly bullied by their brothers or sisters.

According to the researchers, parents should not neglect sibling fights and should address them. The author of 'Sibling Abuse Trauma' and a clinical psychologist, John V Caffaro, told The New York Times that parents generally tend to indulge in favoritism or call children as the 'smart one' or 'the athlete.' That could possibly be the reason why children tend to bully their siblings at a young age.

However, some sort of competitiveness should be maintained between siblings but children who show anger or resentment toward their siblings can cause harm to the bullied child's mental health.

"If siblings hit each other, there's a much different reaction than if that happened between peers. It's often dismissed, seen as something that's normal or harmless. Some parents even think it's beneficial, as good training for dealing with conflict and aggression in other relationships," Tucker said in a news release.

The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.

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