An older brother and younger sister stand side by side looking out a glass door.

Sibling bullying is very common and is defined as an intentional, repeated aggression toward someone who finds it hard to defend themselves.


Having one or more siblings can be a blessing. You’ve got someone to hang around with, play games with, chat with in the back seat of the car and moan to when you think your parents are being unreasonable! 

Of course, no one gets on with their siblings all the time – it’s simply not possible. You’re bound to get on each other’s nerves over certain things and even have the occasional big fight. With any luck, you eventually realise that you can’t stay mad at each other and after a good talk (and perhaps some parental intervention) you sort things out.  

However, there are certain instances where resentment between siblings can lead to one bullying the other. It can be psychological, physical, emotional, cyber or involve exclusion and usually occurs between siblings that are close in age. 

Sibling bullying can happen in a variety of ways: 


If you have experience any of these, there are things you can do: 

  • Understand that what is happening is not acceptable just because you’re siblings.
  • Be assertive and tell your sibling how you feel. If they continue regardless, state that you plan to take action against their tormenting behaviour.
  • Talk to your parents or carers and explain the situation.
  • Protect your emotional and mental health by not being around them when possible.
  • As hard as it might be, try to find out if there is something worrying or upsetting the sibling who is bullying you. People who are in pain lash out at those closest to them.
  • If your parents or carers are unable to help or are dismissive of your claims, call Childline on 1800 666666 or use the Live Chat button on 

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