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Coping with bullying from your siblings

From time to time, siblings will disagree, get into heated debates, argue about whose turn it is to wash the dishes  and even annoyingly tease each other to the brink of tears. Though these examples may seem common of this relationship, research has shown that the bond between siblings is usually special, and though they may bicker, they ultimately want to know that their siblings are safe and happy.

Unfortunately, there are moments when the teasing goes too far, and someone’s feelings gets hurt. Much like regular bullying, bullying among siblings happens when one or more sibling either physically, verbally, emotionally, or socially hurt another sibling repeated. This is especially the case when the sibling being bullied asks that the others refrain from hitting or teasing but their request is ignored.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sibling bullying, here are some things you can do to cope with the situation:

  1. Tell a parent – informing your parents or guardians about what is happening to you is important. Let them know how you feel and that you would like them to address the situation.
  2. Let your sibling know they are hurting you – sometimes when the teasing is unbearable, we may try to laugh it off. Instead, you should acknowledge the feeling of hurt and ask that the harsh comments stop! People are not always aware of how impactful their words are, so tell them. If you don’t, you are accepting their behaviour.
  3. Set boundaries – rules about how to speak to each other and how to treat each other create a foundation of mutual respect. Boundaries are important in all relationships so be sure to let your brother or sister know that you do not like to be called embarrassing nicknames in front of your friends or when you are at school.
  4. Remember your worth – If you are the victim of sibling bullying, you may have asked yourself, “Why don’t my siblings like me?” Often, the bully is the one who may be trying to cope with negative feelings such as jealousy or resentment, and you should not blame yourself for their bad behaviour. Self-love is the first step in standing up to your bullies, whether it be at home, school, work or elsewhere.
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