Kid Getting Bullied? It Might Be Your Fault

April 26, 2013  |  

With all the scary, sad bullying stories in the news lately, it can sometimes seem like kids are just plain mean. Of course, negative parenting can make bullies, and, finds new research from the United Kingdom’s University of Warwick, that includes being overprotective.

The research team who recently published their findings in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, studied existing research on bullying and parenting which examined more than 200,000 subjects. What they found was poor parenting had a stronger effect on kids who became both bullies and the bullied. Bad parenting was more likely to cause a child to become a bully and slightly more likely to make a child a victim.

So what exactly constituted negative parenting behaviors for the researchers? Abuse and neglect, of course, as well as maladaptive parenting (ignoring problems too tough to handle, for instance) and overprotection. Positive parenting behaviors included parent-child communication, supervision, affection and authoritative parenting styles. Regarding the dangers of being overprotective, one research explained, “Children need support but some parents try to buffer their children from all negative experiences. In the process, they prevent their children from learning ways of dealing with bullies and make them more vulnerable.”

Researchers urge schools to be more involved in teaching social skills but say parents must also have firm rules when it comes to how teaching children how to interact with one another.

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