Bullying begins at home: What are bully parents teaching their kids?

Surveys show that 20% of teens report that they have been called names at one point or the other. Around 18% said that they were subject of rumors while 17% said they either had been psychically harassed or had faced the threat of violent action. Experts suggest that there is a deep relationship between parents and bullying teens. Research reveals that this behavior is learned rather than being inherent in children and more often than not parents are the ones setting that example.

Bullying begins at home

Research shows that parents with bully behavior are most likely to raise bully kids. Parents who are overbearing, controlling and aggressive at home are likely to instill this behavior in their kids. Parents are the first people who have a primary influence on their child. All through the developing years, children spend most of their time under the heavy influence of their parents. They consciously or unconsciously pick up behavioral patterns from their parents. When you, for instance, call that news anchor fat, chances are that your child is going to call someone fat at school.

Do intentions really matter here?

Jeff Brown, a psychologist in the psychiatry department of the Harvard University says that few parents aim to instill bad habits in their children intentionally but they inadvertently teach their kids to bully. Students pick up on how their parents talk about other people and treat each other. Their behavioral patterns tend to embed themselves in their kids.

Treating each other in front of the kids

Brown further adds that parents’ behavior with each other is a powerful influence on teens. When they see mom bullying dad or dad bullying mom, they are likely to be influenced heavily and carry out the abusive behavior themselves. Even parents who bully their children tend to instill their bad habits in their teens.

If the kid is always hearing his dad demanding things to be done for him and mom is acting like a personal assistant to dad, odds are the child is going to expect the same behavior from others. If others fail to satisfy him, he is likely to get violent and aggressive. Children tend to repeat behaviors just because they have been modeled to them.

Another way parents can instill the habits of bullying others in your kids is to encourage the sense of entitlement in the kids who excel at academics or athletics, says a guidance counselor at a high school in Philadelphia.

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