Is your sibling a bully? We’re here to help…
When people think of bullying, they often imagine it taking place at school, in the playground or in a park. But what happens when your bully isn’t a classmate or a so-called friend? What if the bully is your very own brother or sister? Bullying in the home can be relentless and very difficult to escape from, which can make your life miserable. If your sibling is bullying you, there are steps you can take to get help and support.
Tell A Parent
This is the first and most important step. Your parent/s need to know what’s going on. They may try to brush it off as sibling quarrels so it’s a good idea to have a note of the hurtful things that have been happening, especially if there has been any physical bullying.
Talk To Your Sibling
Try talking to your sibling to explain how their behaviour is making you feel. Always approach them calmly and choose your moment carefully – there’s no point trying to have this conversation mid-argument or when they’re being particularly aggressive or nasty.
They may be surprised to hear how upsetting you find their behaviour, especially if they’ve always considered their actions to just be “light-hearted banter”. Hopefully, your heart-to-heart may be enough to put a stop to their hurtful behaviour but, if it doesn’t, you can raise the issue with your parent/s to get more support.
You could try asking your sibling why they say and do the things they do to you. What’s their reasoning for it? Why do they feel the need to hurt you in this way? Sometimes, asking a person to really think about their behaviour gives them a chance to take a good long look at their actions – and hopefully realise that they’ve been out of line.
Be Clear & Confident
Whenever your sibling says or does something that upsets you, say out loud, “That’s not OK – please stop.” Let them – and anyone else around you – know that their behaviour is unacceptable. Adults or friends who are around and hear this can help put a stop to it.
Resist the urge to retaliate with your own mean comment when your sibling says something nasty or upsetting. Leave the room, if you can, and talk to a parent about what’s been said. Let your parent deal with it instead of getting dragged into a war of hurled insults.
Ask For Space
Being bullied by a sibling can feel even worse if you share a bedroom and don’t have a space where you can feel safe and relaxed. If possible, ask a parent to designate an area in the home that’s just for you or work out a time slot where you have the bedroom all to yourself, even just for a short time. This can help to give you some much-needed space from a bullying sibling.
Avoid Being Alone With Your Sibling
Try to avoid being on your own with just your sibling. They’re less likely to lash out or be abusive when there are other people around. You can stay within eye and earshot of your parents while in the house to help keep your sibling at a safe distance.
Dealing with a sibling who is a bully can often be trickier than dealing with a school bully because it takes place inside the home. That’s why it’s so important to get support from your parent/s and other family members to put a stop to it, once and for all. If you don’t feel as if you’re getting the right kind of support from your family, try talking to a teacher you trust or speak to the Hidden Strength community or one of our trained counsellors to get more support.
Download the Hidden Strength app today to get access to professional support now.