Sibling abuse is the physical, emotional or sexual abuse of one sibling by another. The physical abuse can range from relatively mild forms of aggression occurring between siblings, such as pushing and shoving, to extremely violent behavior such as the use of weapons. (3)Often parents don't recognize the abuse for what it is. Typically, parents and society expect fights and other physical forms of aggression to occur among siblings. Because of this, sibling abuse often is not seen as a problem until serious injuries occur. Another factor is that in some cases, siblings may switch back and forth between the roles of abuser and victim. Research shows that violence between siblings is quite common. In fact, it is probably even more common than child abuse (by parents) or spouse abuse. (2)The most violent members of American families are the children. It has been estimated that three children in 100 are dangerously violent toward a brother or sister. (3)Likewise, many researchers have estimated sibling incest to be much more common than parent-child incest. It seems that when abusive acts occur between siblings, they are often not perceived as abuse. Some possible signs of sibling abuse are one child always avoids their sibling. A child has changes in behavior, sleeps patterns, eating habits, or has nightmares. A child acts out abuse in play and sexually inappropriate ways. Some of the risk factors parents are not around much at home. Parents are not very involved in their children's lives, or are emotionally unavailable to them. Parents accept sibling rivalry as part of family life, rather than working to minimize it. Parents do not stop children when they are violent.(3) In the last few years, more research has been done on the lasting effects of early experiences with sisters and brothers. Siblings can have strong, sometimes long-lasting effects on one another's emotional development as adults. Some of the effects of sibling abuse are...
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