WASHINGTON – Parents, listen up. There is now research to indicate that problems with bullies and the children who become bullies could begin at home.
Researchers in London analyzed 70 studies involving more that 200,000 children. They found that how children are treated by the parents has a direct effect on who is and isn’t bullied.
Overly protective parents made their children appear vulnerable and therefore at risk to being bullied.
The same is true for those with poor parenting skills, including abusive parents and those who neglected their children.
The research published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect found that absentee parents, or those with poor parenting skills, left their children equally exposed and created a separate category of children who were both victims of bullying and bullies themselves known as “bully victims.”
Professor Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick’s Department of Psychology and Division of Mental Health and Wellbeing, said in a news release that bullying isn’t limited to schools.
“It’s clear from this study that parents also have a very important role to play,” Wolke says.
“We should therefore target intervention (programs) not just in schools but also in families to encourage positive parenting practices such as warmth, affection, communication and support.”
Among the problems created by bullying are anxiety, depression and suicide.
If there’s one takeaway from the study, it’s that there are major components of bullying that begin in the home. That, the researchers concluded, indicates that the problem of bullying is not just an issue for the schools to address.