Children who bully at school
This resource is part of a series on bullying. Access the related bullying practice resources.
School bullying is a serious problem worldwide. There is now strong evidence to indicate that children who bully at school are at significant risk for a range of antisocial, criminal and poor health outcomes later in life. Importantly, bullying is a behaviour often influenced by family environment. As such, working with families to interrupt the continuity from school bullying to later adverse life outcomes could be viewed as a form of early intervention for preventing crime, as well as a method of promoting health. This paper focuses on children who bully at school, and specifically on the ways in which parenting and family functioning underpin a child's bullying behaviour. New evidence for possible protective or intervening factors that may interrupt the developmental sequence of antisocial behaviour is summarised. Parental involvement in anti-bullying interventions is also considered. Finally, some promising approaches for working with children who bully are outlined.
This paper provides background information about children who bully. A related publication, Working With Families Whose Child is Bullying, has suggestions for practitioners and other professionals on ways to work with and support families with a child who is bullying.
At the time of writing Jodie Lodge was a Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Thank you to Catherine Whitington (Therapeutic Youth Services, Uniting Communities) for valuable feedback on an earlier version of this paper.
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