Are your children bullying each other? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Are your children bullying each other?

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT)-  Bullying by a sibling can be just as damaging as bullying by a classmate, according to a new study.

Most people think being bullied by a brother or sister is a "rite of passage" for every child, but at what point does teasing turn into bullying.

"I've got two kids that's 12 and 20 and of course the older one always aggravates the little one and of course I did that to my sister," said parent Jimmy Livengood.

But when is it more than aggravation? Livengood says parents must pay attention and intervene if things start to escalate.

 "It also comes down to how you raise your kids," he said.  

"A parent can set structure and boundaries within their own home and teach their children what's okay and what's not okay," said Dana Watson, clinical psychologist at Families Inc.

Watson said bulling by a sibling can be very detrimental.

 "It can cause anger, depression and anxiety for the child that's being bullied," she said.   "And often the child will act out how they feel aggressively by teasing or bullying other children."

Researchers from the University of New Hampshire linked sibling aggression to mental health issues in children.

"The difference between siblings teasing and actual bullying is when a child starts to suffer psychological or physical effects," Watson said.

But how will parents know if a child crosses the line?

"If the child is unable to cope with being physically harmed or teased or left out of certain situations," she said.

Livengood says it's all left up to parents.

"Show them the love, show them you care and of course that will transfer over to them," he said. "They'll understand how to treat each other with respect."

The study focused on nearly 3,600 kids ages 17 and under. They found that 32 percent of the children experienced some type of sibling aggression.

Researchers assesses three types of aggression: physical, psychological and property.

Experts said parents look out for one child being targeted more than others.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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