All over the world, bullying and victimization are common at various levels of schooling from elementary to secondary and beyond. The objective of bullying can range from humiliating to instilling fear in an effort to establish a character of dominance on the part of the bully. It can be in the form of physical violence, verbal abuse, or social isolation and can have lasting consequences on the victim ranging from low self esteem to the most severe: suicide. The question we all have to ask ourselves is where does this behavior stem from? Children are not born innate with an evil gene (excluding mental disease), therefore, we have to begin by looking at the family structure, the familial influence, and what role they play in the bullying behavior.
In the research study “PROCEDURAL JUSTICE IN RESOLVING FAMILY DISPUTES: IMPLICATIONS FOR CHILDHOOD BULLYING” (Brubacher, Fondacaro, Brank, Brown, Miller, 2009), the authors looked at the interaction between a child and their family with regard to conflict resolution and how that may effect the ability of a child to deal with their peers. Since a dominant role is most apparent in the parent-child relationship, it can suggest that children will be considerably affected by how their parents treat a situation where conflict needs to be resolved. Parents play a pivotal part in the ability for their child to understand right from wrong, empathy, respect, and a sense of fairness. Throughout their course of cognitive development, the attitudes and behaviors put forward by the parent will be internalized by a child and become part of that child’s working model of social conduct. The purpose of this study was to develop the correlation between the family dynamics, and how it may contribute to the behavior of children and their core moral and ethical values when interacting or dealing with their peers. The groundwork is laid at home and if not met with properly, can result in the same cycle repeating in generations to come. The study used participants of middle school age (average age was just over 12-1/2), and a randomized selection of classes from nine participating school districts within various states which was a good representation in that it looked at students in more a metropolitan setting where you usually have a more dense student body, a larger mix of ethnicities, which can sometimes lend to more conflict amongst peers as they are interacting and trying to integrate with one another. The age of students is particularly important because it’s at this tender age where they are beginning to form their independence and having to make autonomous decisions about their behavior and still learning the consequences associated with those decisions. I’m certain that aggressive behavior in parenting styles has huge implications on a child’s attitude. Parents who use physical and/or emotional harm are doing nothing to instill healthy, acceptable social behaviors. All children need to feel a sense of value, empowerment over their ability to be autonomous, and in the absence of that, will act out that which they’ve learned. Often times, it can be the subliminal behavior of the parents/adults that can foster unacceptable values in children. The catalyst can be the ethical and moral opinions like racism, cultural beliefs, and even religious affiliations that the parents have personal qualms about… that can weave into the fabric of a child. Many parents are oblivious to what they’re unconsciously teaching their children simply by how they talk about other societies, traditions, or backgrounds. That kind of blind hatred passes down from generation to generation and no doubt rears its ugly head in our schools… the melting pot of the world. In our textbook “HUMAN DEVELOPMENT” (J.W.Vander Zanden, T. Crandell, C.H.Crandell), Diana Baumrind, a developmental psychologist found a number of parental practices and attitudes that seem to facilitate the development of...
References: Brubacher, Michael R., Fondacar, Mark R., Brank, Eve M., Brown, Veda E., Miller, Scott A., (2009). Procedural Justice in Resolving Family Disputes: Implications For Childhood Bullying. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol 15(3), Aug, 2009. Pp. 149-167. Doi:10.1037/a0016839
Vander Zanden, James W., Crandell, Thomas L., Crandell, Corinne Haines (2007). Human Development. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Co., Inc.
Young, Gerald Ph.D (Oct.4, 2011). How To Raise Your Children Naturally. Psychology Today.
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