How do children turn into bullies? New evidence suggests that it might start at home, with parents who mock or show contempt for their children. You’ve probably seen parents who demean or belittle their children in ways that humiliate and frustrate them. I certainly see it, sometimes from parents who are just mean and other times from parents who humiliate their children with insults disguised as humor. The study by researchers in the United States, Canada and Sweden found that this sort of parent often responds to child engagement with criticism, sarcasm, put-downs and hostility. There was also a strong correlation between this problem and the tendency to rely on emotional and physical coercion to force compliance from children. This sort of parental behavior often leads to “dysregulated” anger in children, and it’s indicative of difficulties with regulating negative emotions, verbal attacks, physical aggression and hostility. Children who are victims of this sort of parenting are at a greater risk for becoming bullies and for becoming “bully-victims,” which are bullies who are victimized by other bullies. I was controlled with lot of demeaning and humiliating behavior from my father as a child, so I can definitely understand what this does to adolescents.
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