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Parent Resources

Characteristics of Families That Bully

Family practices in early childhood are clearly associated with later antisocial and delinquent behaviors.  While many bullying behaviors are learned in the home, it is important to note that not all bullies are the product of violent or neglectful homes. 

  • The home lives of bullies often lack nurturing and include neglect, rejection, emotional coldness and little affection. 
  • The parents of bullies are more likely to use abusive physical punishment inconsistently in their discipline. 
  • Bullies often experience a greater likelihood of a chaotic home environment.  There are frequent parent conflicts, divorces, parent and stepparents coming in and leaving the home repeatedly and moves are common. 
  • The families of bullies are more likely to be socially isolated.  There is a conscious effort to cut the family off from friends and extended family visitations.  The parents teach their children to distrust people outside their family. 
  • Child-rearing practices in the home are randomly administered and usually ineffective.  Children never know from one day to the next what will be acceptable and what will be punished. 
  • There is usually a lack of monitoring of the TV, movies, Internet, friends, music, videos, and grades. 
  • Families seldom use problem solving strategies and violence is considered a solution. 
  • Families of bullies often have substance abuse issues and the children see and have access to inappropriate activities. 

(Williams, Esther.  The Bully, The Bullied and Beyond.  YouthLight, Inc. 2007)