Don’t Ignore Sibling Bullying, Study Warns

The young sisters played outside together every day that summer in a Vallejo, Calif., suburb, and during one long, boring summer day, the older girl thought of a new way to pass the time. She led her little sister to the backyard, tethered the 9-year-old to one of the poles on the back porch, then taped her eyelashes to her eyebrows and left her there to stare into the bright California sun.

That’s the account of Nancy Kilgore, now 63 and living in Sacramento, who says she doesn’t remember feeling physical pain that day. She just remembers feeling helpless. “I just basically got to a point where I accepted anything my sister said or did,” says Kilgore.

Back then, Kilgore didn’t know she was a victim, but she says she believes now that she grew up as a bullied sibling, a group that’s drawing new attention from doctors and researchers who warn parents that such childhood battles may not be as benign as many believe.

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