The Bully in the House

August 2, 2013

Sibling rivalry sometimes can be a good thing. However, constant bullying and favoritism can cause psychological problems. A new study led by Dr. Corinna Jenkins Tucker was published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics. The study shows that aggression by a brother or sister is linked to significantly worse mental health in children and adolescents when compared to kids who haven’t been bullied by their siblings. Although a fight between siblings is often shrugged off by parents as normal, parents should make sure this sibling relationship doesn’t go too far. Fights between siblings are the most common form of family violence, yet they are often overlooked.bully

One-third of the children in the study reported being victimized in the previous year by a sibling.

  • Their scores were higher for anxiety, depression, and anger.
  • The effects of mental health distress in those who were bullied were much higher than in those who were not.

Most people minimize the effects of child-on-child bullying, thinking that damage is not being done. However, many of the psychological issues that kids develop because of their brother or sister can continue into adulthood.

Dr. Tucker recommends that programs and public service announcements, which are generally aimed at school violence, include a focus on sibling relations.


Flavored Tobacco Under Attack Around the World

August 1, 2013

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) stated on World No Tobacco Day (May 31, 2013) that Europe should ban flavored tobacco products as well as change cigarette packaging. These flavored products target children and teenagers, make the tobacco more pleasant to inhale, and greatly improve the taste. The ESC spokesperson states, “The earlier one starts smoking, the more damage the smoke does.” The ESC is also calling for the packaging on tobacco products to be at least 75% covered with health warnings.

Because of the shrinking number of older users, the tobacco companies are trying to target a new audience: youth. The American Cancer Society (ACS) is urging New York State to become the first state to ban the sale of tobacco targeted at youth, such as:

  • sweet-flavored small cigars
  • chewing tobacco
  • loose tobacco

ACS states that flavors such as gummy bear, pink berry, and chocolate tobacco are designed to be attractive to children and are just as unhealthy as cigarettes.

Restrictions on flavored tobacco sales have been put in place in New York City and Providence, Rhode Island; however, no state has yet made it a law.


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