How parents can help avoid victimization of their kids by bulliesA recent review of more than 70 studies that looked into 200, 000 kids suggested that parents who protect their young ones from various negative experiences only end up making them even more vulnerable. However, children whose parents are negative or harsh can easily be bullied, continues the findings.

Prof Dieter Wolke said that while most studies seem to focus on looking at bullying at school, his study was unique in that it found bullying actually begins at home rather than at school. The psychology professor, based at University of Warwick said that he expected to confirm that kids whose parents are the harshest have a high likelihood of being bullied. The professor said that he was somehow shocked to discover that overprotective parents only increased bullying risk for their kids rather than protecting them, which is what they thought they were doing initially. Dieter said that this scenario could be explained in several ways and it is something that previous researches seemed to miss. While he was keen to acknowledge the findings of previous researches on bullying, Dieter said that they lacked a critical aspect of home bullying that would help understand this issue much better.

Dealing with conflict

The research suggests that while high supervision, support and parental involvement actually decrease the likelihood of the kids finding themselves involved in bullying, overprotection simply increases the risk for the victims. While there is no doubt that children actually need support, the problem is that overprotective parents simply shield their children completely from negative experiences. This has its undesirable effects in the long run as it only end up denying the children an opportunity of learning how to handle bullies, which only makes the children more vulnerable. According to him, children should be involved in some distress situations in order to develop ways of dealing with conflict. Where the parents are always available to do everything for them, it is highly likely that such children might never adopt coping strategies of dealing with conflict and the bullies are more likely to target them due to their vulnerability. According to the research findings, bullies find it easy to dominate the most vulnerable children who are their primary targets. Additionally, they will mostly pick on kids who run away crying after the first attack. As such, how the child will react during the first bullying instance has consequences on what the bully will do next.

Parents should set clear rules for their kids

The research also covered several countries in the US and Europe and found that children who are constantly bullied by siblings could also be victims as well. Prof Wolke added that good parenting is one that involve setting clear rules regarding children behavior while at the same time being emotionally and supportive. This will most likely help in preventing victimization. Such parents will allow their kids to engage in conflicts with their peers as a way of learning how to cope during such instances rather than intervening even during small arguments.