Possible paradigms for treatment.
1. Sibs not treated fairly in re. to rules, discipline, rewards, time with parents and sometimes one or another parent obviously preferring to be with one sib over another. Although parents will deny being unfair children have a great perceptive sense and pick up on any feelings of preference, even when overtly they may be treated the same.
2. Age differences. Older sibs having to care for younger ones and feeling resentful. Sibs born too close together so some feelings of not getting “their share” of the goodies.
3. Abilities, talents, intelligence of varying degrees. Usually one or more of the sibs “shine” and the other more “average” sibs feel overwhelmed in all areas.
4. Sibs mirroring the way the parents treat each other. If mom and dad are verbally abusive, argue, pout and do not resolve differences, then sibs will act out in the same way. Sometimes this will take the form of psychomatic symptoms; headaches, bedwetting, etc. Depression in children is a common result of carrying the symptoms of the parent dissonance.
This is just a beginning list, there are probably as many reasons as there are children, however, many of the children seen in family therapy fall into these broad general categories.
The aggressiveness of children toward one another does not occur in a vacuum and looking back over many years as a family therapist I can’t think of a time when the problem does not lie with the relationship within the parents or pseudoparents. The family is much like a baseball team or a small business in that if there are problems at the top they trickle down and result in problems in the team being successful. So, the first mode of treatment is an in-debth history of the parents history and relationship dynamics.