Only children are happier than those forced to fight for their parents' attention with their siblings, a new study has revealed.
One of the reasons single-children appear more confident and content is they do not have to deal with 'sibling bullying', according to researchers, with almost a third of youngsters saying they are regularly hit or shoved by a brother or sister.
Many children with siblings also complain of their belongings being stolen and being called 'nasty names' by a brother or sister.
The figures, which come from one of the widest-ranging studies on family life conducted in Britain, Understanding Society, tracked the lives of 100,000 people in 40,000 homes.
"More than half of all siblings (54 pc) were involved in bullying in one form or the other," the Daily Mail quoted Professor Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick, who has carried out research into sibling rivalries and bullying, as saying.
The researcher claimed tensions between siblings were likely to have an impact on parents, told: "From anecdotal reports, quarrelling siblings increase stress for parents and some just give up intervening or intervene inconsistently, leaving the field wide open for the bully sibling."
The results will be published later this week in State of the Nation, a magazine published by the Economic and Social Research Council.