Children may learn bullying from parents

Aug. 5, 2008 at 5:49 PM

BOSTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Children raised by authoritarian parents -- demanding, directive and unresponsive -- are the most prone to act out bullying behavior, U.S. researchers said.

Study leader Elizabeth Sweeney, a University of Cincinnati master's degree student in sociology, said her review of the literature found that children raised by nurturing, warm, responsive parents were less likely to bully.

"Children who experience hostility, abuse, physical discipline and other aggressive behaviors by their parents are more likely to model that behavior in their peer relationships," Sweeney said in a statement.

"Children learn from their parents how to behave and interact with others. So if they're learning about aggression and angry words at home, they will tend to use these behaviors as coping mechanisms when they interact with their peers."

The review also found that children from middle-income families were less likely to bully than children from the high and low ends of the family income scale.

Sweeney presented the findings at the 103rd annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Boston.

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