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Signs of Sibling Abuse
"The largest enabler of sibling abuse is a sibling that is given too much responsibility," said Susan Fletcher, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Parenting in the Smart Zone. "Often, an older child is given the responsibility of caring for a younger sibling before they are actually mature enough to do so. This can cause them to act out in what they view as 'adult behaviors' and emotional and possibly physical abuse can be the result."
Parents can watch for the following signs to identify issues with sibling abuse that go beyond normal sibling rivalry.
· Failure to thrive
· Weight loss or gain
· Anxiety and/or depression
· Phobias or unexplainable fears
· Personal space or privacy issues
· Difficulty with authority
· Low self-esteem
· Nightmares, difficulty sleeping or a sudden fear of the dark
· Irrational anger
· Emotional outbursts
· Frequent illnesses
· Withdrawal from the family unit or friends
· Sympathy issues
About Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.
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