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Bullying

Supportive Family Influences

Positive SupportThe family can serve as one of the most important factors to prevent or stop a child from bullying. Identifying protective factors that the family can provide has the potential to drastically change the trajectory of youth involved in bullying (Barker et al., 2008). High levels of parent involvement in school, consistent discipline, and a supportive family environment can help youth be less likely to engage in bullying behavior.

For example, regular family dinners have been shown to decrease the likelihood that youth will engage in physical violence (Fulkerson et al., 2006). Use meal times to talk and communicate with your child. Providing this kind of consistent social interaction can enable them to develop personal and social skills which can decrease bullying behavior (Smith, & Myron-Wilson, 1998).

A child’s attitude toward school can be a protective factor against engaging in bullying behavior (Herrenkohl et al., 2012). Therefore, be supportive and involved in your child’s schooling by encouraging them in their schoolwork and helping them work through any difficulties they may be facing. When you receive a report that your child is bullying others, follow up the school’s disciplinary action with clear and consistent discipline at home. As you explain your disciplinary decisions, be firm but supportive (Baldry & Farrington, 2012).

We focused on some of the protective factors related to the family, but there are many factors, such as low levels of impulsivity, social skills, and positive peer groups that can reduce bullying behaviors. In general, when youth have positive and healthy relationships with their families, the likelihood that they will engage in bullying behavior is lowered. These relationships can also provide encouragement when youth need to stop bullying if they are already involved.


References:

Baldry, A. C., & Farrington, D. P. (2005). Protective factors as moderators of risk factors in adolescence bullying. Social Psychology of Education, 8(3), 263-284.

Barker, E. D., Boivin, M., Brendgen, M., Fontaine, N., Arseneault, L., Vitaro, F. & Tremblay, R. E. (2008). Predictive validity and early predictors of peer-victimization trajectories in preschool. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65(10), 1185-1192.

Fulkerson, J. A., Story, M., Mellin, A., Leffert, N., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & French, S. A. (2006). Family dinner meal frequency and adolescent development: Relationships with developmental assets and high-risk behaviors. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 39(3), 337-345.

Herrenkohl, T. I., Guo, J., Kosterman, R., Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Smith, B. H. (2001). Early adolescent predictors of youth violence as mediators of childhood risks. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 21(4), 447-469.

Smith, P. K & Myron-Wilson, R. (1998). Parenting and school bullying. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 3, 405–411.