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Family Support as Buffer for the Negative Effects of Bullying

Sibling SupportBullying in schools is an increasing problem that continues to gain widespread attention today. Research shows that children who are victims of bullying are at risk for later emotional and behavioral problems, such as depression and self-harm (Bowes et al., 2010; Conners-Burrow et al., 2009). It’s normal for parents and family members to ask themselves how they can help their child handle the stress of being a victim of bullying. A study from a nationally representative sample of children, explores how families act as a buffer towards the negative emotional and behavioral problems that children experience after being bullied. They suggest that having a supportive home environment can help children feel cared for, feel safe, have lower levels of depression, and develop fewer behavioral problems.

As parents, finding opportunities to show your child that you support them and care about their feelings can help protect your child from the negative outcomes of being bullied and strengthen your relationship with them. Research shows that having a positive home environment and positive family relationships is beneficial for both girls and boys. Research shows that strong parental and family support is more beneficial for a child being bullied than teacher support (Conners-Burrow et al., 2009). Although you may not see your child being bullied, by providing support and care for them at home, you can help prevent your child from experiencing some of the negative emotional and behavioral problems that could occur.


Bowes, L., Maughan, B., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Arseneault, L. (2010). Families promote emotional and behavioural resilience to bullying: Evidence of an environmental effect. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 809-817.

Conners-Burrow, N. A., Johnson, D. L., Whiteside-Mansell, L., McKelvey, L., & Gargus, R. A. (2009). Adults matter: Protecting children from the negative impacts of bullying. Psychology in Schools, 46, 593-604.