Sibling Fights Can Take a Toll
Researchers link them to anxiety, depression later
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2012 4:16 PM CST

(Newser) – A new study suggests that parents shouldn't ignore frequent arguments between their kids as harmless sibling rivalry. What's more, they should pay attention to what the fights are about, reports USA Today. Researchers found that:

  • Personal space, property: Teens who argued about these things—walking into a sibling's room unannounced or borrowing clothes without permission—were more prone to anxiety and low self-esteem the following year.
  • Fairness, equality: These arguments—complaints that one kid is the favorite or whose turn it is to do chores—were linked to feelings of depression the following year.

So what's a parent to do? Lead researcher Nicole Campione-Barr of the University of Missouri doesn't think it helps for parents to step in constantly to resolve disputes. In fact, that might make things worse. The better approach is to set and enforce household rules to head off the fights in the first place.

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Showing 3 of 7 comments
Dec 21, 2012 4:17 AM CST
well duh. Kids that think everything should be fair have a rude awakening eventually and end up depressed about it. On the other hand, kids that demand privacy and territory are already exhibiting normal world-ready behavior. Those kids should be given their respected space, and the other constantly explained to how the world is a corrupt favoritist cesspool so get used to it.
Dec 20, 2012 11:41 PM CST
Brought to you by the same education system that came up with evolution...
Dec 20, 2012 7:07 PM CST
OK Next Now you know why psych/soch degrees are so -- heh, heh, heh -- valuable.