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Parenting Styles and Bullying

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Having a teen that is experiencing bullying can be very challenging for some parents. Parents often blame themselves and want nothing more than to take the pain away from their child, others who have never experienced bullying struggle to know how to help. Parent child relationships can either be helpful in this situation or be the root of the problem. Perhaps the most significant struggle when it comes to children being bullied is how parenting styles affect their children and if they benefit or harm the bullying experience. Ronél Van der Watt the author of the article “Attachment, Parenting Styles and Bullying During Pubertal Years” wanted to know how parenting style can affect bullying in children during their pubertal years. It is important to know that the pubertal years bring on significant changes in the parent-child relationship.

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If you do, research supports your opinion. Studies show that parenting styles that resemble bullying, meaning they involve insults, mockery, and a lack of empathy for the feelings of the child, are associated with increased bullying behavior in children. However, a new study shows that sometimes this type of parenting has the opposite effect: mockery, insults, or derision from parents increases the likelihood that a child will be the victim of bullying. It’s possible that both are true. After all, each child is unique and responds to the dominant parenting style in their family in their own way. What the new study shows is that both engaging in bullying behavior and being the victim of bullying behavior are potential consequences of a parenting style that includes mockery, derision, and a lack of emotional support and empathy for the feelings of the child. Further, the paper describes a common consequence of the derisive parenting style, which unites the bully and the bullying victim: dysregulated anger.Parenting experts identify four distinct parenting styles: authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and neglectful. In the authoritarian style, everything is black and white. Parents rarely explain the rules and consequences. This is the classic my way or the highway approach. The authoritative style is different. Parents establish and maintain authority, but they don’t rule with an iron fist. They set firm boundaries but take the time to explain to kids the whys and wherefores of the rules. Rules and consequences are still firm, but the children have more agency than in an authoritarian household. In the permissive style, parents set few boundaries – outside of those directly related to physical safety – and allow children to make their own decisions with regards to things like bedtime, curfew, after-school activities, and peers. Finally, the neglectful style of parenting is characterized by low parent engagement and a near-complete lack of rules, guidance, and emotional support. The new research establishes that the authoritarian style of parenting often includes a derisive element. Parents who are derisive may respond to their children’s attempts to engage with them in the following ways: Criticism, Sarcasm, Put-downs, Hostility. Most people understand why kids who get bullied by their parents might become bullies themselves. They simply mimic the behavior of their parents. When they interact with peers, especially those who may be weaker and more vulnerable than them – parallel to the weakness and vulnerability they experience in relation to their parents – they treat those peers the same way they’re treated by their parents. They default to derision, criticism, sarcasm, put-downs, and hostility. They may also engage in threats of physical coercion or outright violence, such as pushing or hitting. In short, they develop a bully mentality because they learned it from their parents

There’s another potential consequence of derisive parenting, though. Instead of learning how to be bullies, children bullied by their parents may learn how to become victims. And this learned behavior may manifest in peer relationships when the child is away from the home.

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Parenting is a stage of life that comes about when one gets children to bring up. It is natural and there are no manuals or rules to parenting as people just learn about it as they go. Though there are many ideas on how to bring up children some will be individual based, others from their own parents while others will adopt ideas from their friends. Parenting styles can be described as the ways parents use to parent their children (Aunola et al 217). Psychologists have therefore established three different parenting styles that are used by parents either with or without their consent. The parenting styles, permissive, authoritative and authoritarian are usually based on the communication styles, disciplinary strategies as well as warmth and nurture. This paper is therefore an in-depth analysis of the three basic parenting styles used by most parents.The parenting styles discussed above are applicable depending on the views people hold for each. Each of the three parenting styles has its own merits and demerits. In the permissive parenting style the parents have adequate time to do what they would wish to do since they are not constantly monitoring the children (Spera 2). Chances of separation in such a family are very high since people develop their own different lives. In the authoritarian parenting styles children tend to be very respectful thus parents have low levels of stress. The democratic style on the other hand is very involving for the parents as they have to be on toes and talking with their children to keep the unity of the family. Parents using this style tend to focus more on the negatives rather than the positives such that a child who fails in school or wrongs is severely punished or scolded while the one who has exemplary passed is rarely praised

The children who grow up under this parenting style do not learn to think and do things on their own thus find it very difficult to make decisions later in life. This parenting style is mostly applicable to children who are very stubborn and need to be closely monitored.

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Thus, counsellors should organize regular seminars and conferences for parents to enlighten them on the importance of adopting good parenting practices in their homes

A good way of reducing bullying behaviours among students would be to ensure that the students have a healthy home environment that encourages the development of good social skills. In other words, paying attention to children as well as parental supervision helps to reduce aggressive behaviours.

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Aunola, K., Nurmi, J.and, Stattin, H. “Parenting styles and adolescents achievement Strategies”.2002- Journal of Adolescence, 23, 205-222

Iannelli, Vincent. Parenting Styles. 2004- April 17, 2011.

Spera, C. “A Review of the Relationship among Parenting Practices, Parenting Styles and Adolescent School Achievement”. Educational Psychology Review, 17, 2, June. 2005.

Then, Joseph. Three Basic Parenting Styles. 2011- April 17, 2011.

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