Social behavior and peer relationships of victims and bully-victims

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

With the start of school, you begin to wonder about a lot of things. How will my child do in school? Will he or she make a lot of friends? Will it be a good experience? You often find yourself wondering if he or she will get along well with others or be bullied. A study in the Journal of Psychology a recently looked at the prevalence of bully/victim problems by examining social behaviors and peer relationships of kindergarten children. Nearly 344 children, ages 5 to 7, participated; they were categorized as victims, bully-victims, bullies, and non-involved by means of teacher ratings and peer nominations. Teachers also completed questionnaires on children's social behavior patterns, while peer relationships were assessed by means of peer nominations and social cluster mapping.

Compared to non-involved children, victims were more submissive, had fewer leadership skills, were more withdrawn, more isolated, less cooperative, less sociable, and frequently had no playmates. As expected, bullies and bully-victims were generally more aggressive than their peers. In addition, bully-victims were less cooperative, less sociable, and more frequently had no more playmates than non-involved children. Bullies were less prosocial, and had more leadership skills than non-involved children. The researchers found distinct behavior patterns for bullies, bully-victims, and victims that may be considered as risk factors for being victimized or becoming a bully. They emphasized the significance of peer relationships in bully/victim problems.

As far as I know, my children have not been bullied at school. However, the results suggest that the problem might be prevented, at least in part, by teaching your child to be involved, cooperative, sociable, and friendly to other children. It wouldn't hurt if you taught your youngster to also be appropriate assertive in relationships with other kids at school. That might also prevent bullying. What do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.