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Sibling Support as a Buffer for the Negative Effects of Bullying

Sibling SupportResearch shows that sibling relationships can be beneficial for children who are being bullied (Lamarche et al., 2006). Supportive sibling relationships give children the opportunity to gain social benefits such as: emotional support, companionship, and the sharing of mutual experiences with someone else. Through warm sibling relationships, children are able to learn positive coping skills, how to show empathy, and how to have good social skills. Therefore, children are able to discover how to handle conflict with their peers in a more constructive way, instead of acting out aggressively or withdrawing. These learned skills decrease occurrences of being victimized and lower the stress and behavioral problems that a child can experience after being bullied (Bowes et al., 2010 & Lamarche et al., 2006).

For families who have more than one child, siblings can be a great support system for a child who is being bullied. Siblings can provide the social interactions that children need and possibly give support in the environment that the bullying is occurring (Bowes et al., 2010). Therefore, as parents, you can encourage your children to find opportunities to spend time together to strengthen the sibling relationship. They can play a game together, work on a project together, help each other out with homework, or engage in any activity that they enjoy doing. With your support and encouragement, your children will have opportunities to grow closer and learn how to interact with their peers in a more positive way.


Bowes, L., Maughan, B., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Arseneault, L. (2010). Families promote emotional and behavioural resilience to bullying: Evidence of an environmental effect. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 809-817.

Lamarche, V., Brendgen, M., Boivin, M., Vitaro, F., Perusse, D., & Dionne, G. (2006). Do friendships and sibling relationships provide protection against peer victimization in a similar way? Social Development, 15, 373-393.