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Parent Resources

Sibling Abuse

Sibling abuse is more common ´╗┐than spousal or parent-child abuse.  With more and more blended families and more children left in the care of siblings, this abuse is on the rise.  It occurs when sibling interactions become violent and the sibling feels powerless to stop the interaction.  If one sibling is consistently singled out, abuse is occuring. 

  • Allow your child to have negative feelings toward his or her sibling(s).  Encourage him or her to talk about these feelings. 
  • Help your child express his or her feelings in appropriate ways and explain how he or she would like to be treated. 
  • Help your child express his or her negative feelings in a creative outlet.  Have him or her write a letter or draw a picture expressing his or her feelings. 
  • Encourage physical activities to expel angry feelings.  Help your child learn to calm down after a conflict and relax. 
  • Always intervene and stop hurtful behavior but require the children to practice problem solving. 
  • Never make comparisons between children and avoid labeling your children.  Express what you like about each child without comparing. 
  • Make it clear to all your children that you expect them to settle conflict without violence. 
  • Some squabbling needs to be ignored but intervene when one of the children becomes unhappy with the behavior. 
  • When you intervene in your children's disputes, model problem solving skills.  Ask the following questions and take your children through this process:
  1. What is the problem?
  2. What are some possible solutions?
  3. Which solution are you going to choose?

Check with the children later and ask:  How is the solution working?