Balanced Parenting and Bullying

What does the data tell us about bullying among teens?

Bullying and cyberbullying among teens are increasingly hot topics. It’s an issue that deserves our attention. We know that both teens who bully others and bullying victims suffer from undesirable outcomes, including alcohol use, smoking, poor performance in school, and suicide.

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics tell us a little more about recent trends in bullying among teens.

About 20% of teens in the United States currently report experiencing bullying at school. Put another way, this means that 1 out of every 5 teens may be experiencing bullying. Name calling and rumor spreading are the most common types of bullying.

While the good news is that reports of bullying among teens have decreased since 2005, rates are still too high. For example, about 15% of teens nationwide report experiencing cyberbullying. This percentage hasn’t budged since 2011.

Rates of traditional bullying and cyberbullying are even higher among some groups, such as LGBTQIA+ teens. 34% of them report being bullied on school property and 28% report being cyberbullied.

How can parents help ensure that rates of bullying drop? One way is to commit to raising teens with a balanced parenting style.

How does parenting impact bullying?

Balanced parenting can impact bullying in a couple of different ways.

To start, balanced parenting makes teens less likely to bully others. Teens model their parents’ behavior, so if parents raise their teens with a balance of warmth and rules, teens are bound to treat their peers with kindness and respect.

In addition, balanced parenting makes teens less likely to be bullied. Teens benefit from balanced parenting because their parents support their independence and ability to make the right choices. This may give them the confidence to ignore a bully’s insults or brush aside false rumors.

Finally, if teens experience bullying, balanced parenting makes teens more resilient to it. Parents who use a balanced style love and support their child unconditionally. They also teach them the skills needed to bounce back from life’s setbacks, such as unfair treatment from peers.

These teens will take the best steps to overcome bullying by seeking guidance from their parents, teachers, and other trusted adults. Support from these adults (especially parents!) will help them learn how to treat their peers, avoid bullies, and be resilient to bullies.

If you feel that professional help for your teen is needed, look at these pieces for guidance. Check out these resources for more information on bullying and effective methods to combat bullying.

Image by: Samantha Lee/Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

About Andy Pool

Andrew Pool, Ph.D., M.Sc. is a Research Scientist at CPTC. He has a doctorate in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Temple University.

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