What makes a bully? What conditions surrounding his situation at home and at school actually play a role in shaping this potential behavior in children? New data from the Pediatric Academic Societies shows how certain behavior of parents may be influential on the potential bullying behavior of their children.
As part of the study by the Pediatric Academic Societies, parents of kids 10 to 17 years old were asked whether their children displayed any form of cruelty to other children. Their mental health and emotional health were also taken into consideration.
According to data spanning 2003 to 2007: • 23 percent of kids had bullied another kid at some point (2003) • 35 percent of parents reported their child’s bullying another child, by 52 percent (2007) • 15 percent of kids were “frequent” bullies (2007)
Children with ‘emotional, behavioral or psychological problems’ were more likely to become bullies. The kids of parents who said they were mad at or anxious with their kids actually were also more likely to become bullies, as a result.
Those of parents who had good communication with their kids, on the other hand, were less likely to become bullies.
Previous research has shown that bullies are actually at greater risk for developing psychological problems than non-bullies. Says Young Shun Kin, a professor at the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine, bullies are actually more prone to committing suicide and delinquency, substance abuse and other behavioral problems.
While no causal relation can be confirmed at this point, the researchers point out that a long-term study of the same group of surveyed children would help in finding out the triggers of bullying behavior.
Said one of the researchers, Dr. Rashimi Shetgiri of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center, “Interventions that help parents become more involved in their children's lives and help them to communicate better with their children may be helpful.”
"They can also find effective ways to manage any feelings of anger toward their child and can work with health care providers to make sure any emotional or behavioral concerns they have about their child, as well as their own mental health, are addressed."