We’ve been spending a lot of time lately peeling Seth off his younger sister, Lael. Our boy usually isn’t trying to hurt her, but his playful exuberance often upsets her.
Most of Seth’s antics seem to revolve around getting our attention away from Lael. Every now and then, though, anger or jealousy flares on his face, which we react to immediately by removing our boy from the situation.
Apparently, many siblings behave much, much worse, reports The New York Times. In fact, the story opens and closes with a man who was repeatedly pummeled by his older sibling when they were growing up. The level of violence the victim describes is shocking. While I rough-housed with my younger brother, I certainly didn’t pin him down and repeatedly beat him.
But siblings can be quite vicious. Consider these numbers, from a study mentioned in the Times:
- 35 percent of children report being attacked by a sibling.
- 13 percent of those attacked were injured.
- 6 percent were attacked with a weapon.
- 40 percent were attacked repeatedly.
There is no question that the ultimate responsibility falls with the parents. This problem can’t be blamed on TV or candy.
It is also clear that a strong dad can make a huge difference in preventing such abuse from occurring. An indifferent or uninvolved dad is a strong indicator of unchecked sibling rivalry.
It’s something I will keep I mind as my kids get older.