Many of us have vivid memories of typical sibling rivalry: tugging over treasured stuffed animals; arguing about whose turn it is to wash dishes; impulsively yelling mean words; crying over hurt feelings; vying for the favored place among our parents. Those of us who complained to our parents were often met with a dismissive wave of the hand and the familiar words, “Kids will be kids.”
But is that really the best action to take? Children are the youngest members of a sacred group they call, “my family”. They are simply living life as open hearts with the beliefs that they will be loved, protected, and cared for by their family. Through no fault of their own, these beliefs could be betrayed, unbelievably enough, by someone within their own sacred family group. But in a child’s mind—even an adult survivor’s mind—doubt can creep in. Was it me that was the real reason that caused this abuse to happen to me?
And I’m telling you, it’s not you.
There is no question that young victims of sibling abuse are caught in circumstances beyond their control. They have suffered pain that no child should ever have to endure. But, I am delighted to deliver a message of hope to all victims of sibling abuse: “Most people can overcome the trauma of abuse and transform their lives to what they want it to be”. I know this because I have transformed my own life out of the chaos of sibling abuse into a beautiful life filled with joy.Please, in an effort to end sibling abuse and childhood bullying, start by acknowledging a child’s anger and beginning a conversation. If the child isn’t willing to open up and share their problems, then it might be time to consult a professional.
Please, in an effort to end sibling abuse and childhood bullying, start by acknowledging a child’s anger and beginning a conversation. If the child isn’t willing to open up and share their problems, then it might be time to consult a professional.
So, don’t know where to start? You can take a first step towards healing by writing down the repeating patterns you’re seeing in your child and talking to your child’s pediatrician, or speak with a trusted doctor and ask for a referral to see a behavioral specialist he or she recommends.
The University of Michigan Health Systems has developed an excellent article about Sibling Abuse. In this article specific signs, risk factors, and prevention of sibling abuse are outlined. I encourage you to visit this excellent resource. I wrote my Book My Five Sisters because I want to shed light on sibling abuse and childhood bullying. Slowly, this type of abuse is starting to be brought out into the open, but so much more needs to be done. It’s time to create a definitive in the dictionary and face this very real problem in the 21st century.
The American Academy of Marriage and Family Therapy describe sibling abuse or violence as “a repeated pattern of physical aggression with the intent to inflict harm and motivated by a need for power or control.
We do have choices and we can find solutions for ourselves and even our entire family. If we as parents, take steps to find help and protect those who need protecting, and liberate those who are being harmed. We do have choices. And together, we can learn more about how to stop sibling abuse.
And know, one of the biggest dangers a child faces is when they are left alone with only one other person. A safer situation is when two or more adults are present to prevent any and all opportunity for abuse. Leaving a young child in the care of one adult or one teenager can leave the door open for criminal, abusive behavior.