What Do I Do If I Have a Stepsister and She Bullies Me?

Talk through your feelings about being bullied with your parent.
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If you're living with a stepsibling -- or a few -- you aren't alone. Roughly 20 percent of kids in the United States living in two-parent homes are part of stepfamilies or blended families, according to the article, "Different Types of Families: A Portrait Gallery" on the HealthyChildren.org website. While some families may have an ideal "Brady Bunch" grouping, if your stepsister is more of a bully than a bestie, learning how to handle the situation is key to your family's success.

1 The Why

Understanding why your stepsister is bullying you can help you deal with the situation. Before you assume that she's just a mean person, consider what's behind her bullying behaviors. In a school environment, people bully for an array of reasons such as a feeling of isolation, wanting social power, thinking badly of others or because they have problems at home, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's stopbullying.gov website. While your stepsibling is at home, not at school, she may bully for some of the same reasons. For example, if she's constantly arguing with her biological mother, she may take it out on you.

2 Make Your Parents Understand

When siblings -- even ones that are stepsiblings -- sling insults or punches, parents are prone to thinking that it's just simple sibling rivalry that's going on, according to counselor Erika Krull in her article, "Bullying Between Siblings" on the PsychCentral website. Although it's not always easy for mom and dad to tell the difference between a joking jab and a truly mean or intimidating remark, making your parents understand what's happening is essential to stopping the situation. If you don't feel comfortable going to your stepparent, speak to your biological parent first. Detail the bullying and let your parent know the negative effect that it's having on you. Ask your parent to help you out by talking to your stepsister or setting firmer family rules.

3 Bullying Beyond the Rules

If mom and dad give your stepsister a good talking to, but she doesn't care -- or it makes the situation worse -- you'll need to figure out what happens next. Your sister may continue to bully you, defy your parents' rules or she may start sneak attacks behind their backs. If the bullying doesn't stop or worsens, go back to your parents with this serious problem. Let your stepsister's biological parent talk to her, as she may feel like it's acceptable -- or at least more acceptable -- to defy her stepparent. At the same time, talk to your stepsister. Let her know that you aren't afraid of her anymore and that her behaviors need to stop.

4 Take Care of Yourself

Being bullied by anyone, especially someone within your own home, is traumatic. While you are resolving the issue among your family, don't forget to take care of yourself. Acknowledge your feelings about the situation. Are you sad, angry or frustrated with what has been going on? Talk to a trusted friend about how this blended family bullying is taking a toll on you. Stop looking at yourself as a victim. No one's debating the fact that bullying hurts, both emotionally and physically. That said, rising above your step's ill-intentions shows that you can let go of your fear.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.