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Few would argue that having a second or third child increases the parents’ time pressure and stress. With the arrival of a new baby, previous routines go out of the window. Many parents think that as the children get older, their life becomes easier to manage. This is a misunderstanding, if only because they fail to consider other, less discussed aspects of sibling life – jealousy, the pursuit of parental attention, the feeling of favoritism, the potential for bullying, and the often endless arguments.
Although parents seek to foster affection and friendship among their children, many of those efforts and good intentions go unnoticed. The number of battles and the amount of ridicule and stress sibling brings to families can be harrowing and intimidating.
In one study, the researchers found that “sibling relationships have a significant and lasting impact on children’s development”. Disagreements can be more than just a small argument that has ramifications that last a lifetime. The study “Family Bullying: Sibling Bullying” may surprise parents who think it’s natural and not alarming for siblings to argue beyond the occasional spitting. The study reported that “up to 40 percent each week are exposed to sibling bullying, a repetitive and harmful form of intra-family aggression”.
The authors also suggest that sibling bullying may increase the likelihood of peer bullying and “is independently linked to concurrent and early emotional problems in adults, including stress, depression, and self-harm. The effects appear to be cumulative, as children who are bullied by both siblings and their peers have greatly increased emotional problems compared to children who are bullied only by siblings or their peers, likely because they don’t have a safe place to Escape Bullying. “
Understandably, parents do not want to acknowledge that siblings are treating each other maliciously, even when the fighting becomes alarming. Parents tend to ignore or rationalize the situation by telling themselves that children will be children, they didn’t mean it, or they will outgrow the struggles. Parents want to believe that their children’s behavior is a normal part of growing up.
74 percent of siblings push or push their brothers and sisters, and 40 percent go even further: they kick, hit, and bite their siblings. 85 percent of siblings are regularly verbally aggressive with their siblings.
A crash every 10 minutes
Parents tend to minimize sibling conflicts. Perhaps most believe that they will solve themselves, and some do. In many families, however, sibling controversy is enough to damage relationships and morale for years. In the study “Influence of parents and siblings on the quality of conflict behavior of children during preschool”, the researchers tracked preschool siblings in 37 families with two children over a period of two years. They observed when the children were two and four years old and again when they were four and six years old.
The conflicts averaged a whopping 3,351 per family. This astonishing number is about six fights an hour, or about one bump every 10 minutes for the younger children.
The fighting decreased to four an hour as the children were older, but the older children’s conflicts lasted longer. In these differences of opinion, the children used threat, joke, and physical aggression. In about half of the cases, the parents intervened, but the intervention of the parents does not necessarily affect the children’s conflict-solving behavior.
People who defend difficult sibling relationships are quick to argue that children will most likely learn to get along. This study showed that tensions don’t necessarily resolve over time – they change. As children get older and have better verbal skills and maturity, their ability to resolve differences improves, but so does the possibility of stronger opposition. The argument is often constant: “It’s my turn,” “Give it back, or” It’s mine “projected from the lungs of one or both of the children through the house, along with,” How come she stays up late? I hate her. “Siblings don’t have to be as good with one another as they do with friends, and often they don’t.
It is possible that siblings never find a way to exist without tension. Early rivalries can turn into envy among teenagers and adults.
When teenagers argue
What started out small as a toddler – perhaps with a battle over a toy – escalates into an ongoing competition for school grades or soccer goals. In some families, competitiveness obscures everything, even if the children are of different ages and in different teams or have completely different interests.
When children are teenagers, jealousy can become daily business. Angry siblings say things like, “He’s more popular,” “My sister is way prettier,” “She’s going to a better college than me,” “He got a better job,” “My sister is richer,” “My brother is good at everything that concerns him. ”Parents see, hear, and wonder what has created such animosity between children they love dearly.
Much evidence supports the idea that sibling disagreements and arguments are effective in teaching children to care for themselves in the larger world. For some children this may be true, for others the fight against siblings only leads to distress and turmoil – and in the worst case to persistent verbal abuse and physical beatings. The combative nature leaves deep emotional – and sometimes physical – scars.
Don’t ignore complaints
These early conflicts and bullying behaviors can have long-term effects. The study, Family Dynamics and Wellbeing of Young Adults: The Mediating Role of Bullying in Siblings, found that sibling bullying was associated with a lower sense of competence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction for victims, with more internalized problems. “
Parents want to pay close attention to how children interact and take steps to intervene when indicated. It’s important to take sibling disagreements and bullying as seriously as peer bullying in school and on social media – and how to prevent it – today.
Copyright @ 2019 by Susan Newman
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