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In the United States, bullying among school-aged children is an urgent problem. Researchers pay much attention to identifying the causes of bullying in order to improve the school environments in the United States because those children who are bullied experience the psychological stress, and bullies also require the educators and counselors’ proper attention (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005, p. 101). Bullies demonstrate the ambivalent relationship and attitudes toward their relatives and schoolmates. Many researchers also state that the students’ aggressive behavior at school is a result of bullies’ relations with their parents (Georgiou, 2008, p. 109; Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005, p. 101).
The lack of the parental support is the main cause of students’ deviant behaviors at school, including the cases of bullying, and those parents who pay much attention to developing their career cannot provide the necessary attention to their children (Connolly & O’Moore, 2003). As a result, bullying can be discussed as the consequence of the absence of parental support and attention. It is important to discuss the increasing rates of bullying among students at school and the reasons behind the phenomenon. To direct the research of the problem, it is necessary to focus on the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 1: If children are born and brought up by the career-focused parents, then these children are likely to become bullies at school.
Applicable Sociological Concepts
Bullying as the social phenomenon can be discussed from two rather opposite perspectives which are the Social Conflict approach and the Symbolic Interaction approach. Following the Social Conflict approach, it is important to state that the inequalities and conflicts are the basic forces of the social development (Macionis, 2010, p. 15). From this point, bullying can be defined as “a form of aggression in which, one or more children intend to harm or disturb another child who is perceived as being unable to defend himself or herself” (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005, p. 101). It is a repetitive behavior, and bullying can be characterized with such activities as “name calling, physically assaulting, threatening, and taunting” (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005, p. 101). Bullies and those persons who are the victims of bullying are in a constant conflict because bullies intend to accentuate the differences between children while demonstrating their aggression.
Bullying should also be discussed from the perspective of Symbolic Interaction approach because according to this theory, members of the society are constantly interacting with each other (Macionis, 2010, p. 17-18). That is why, the phenomenon of bullying is a result of schoolchildren’s everyday interactions at home and at school. Bullying occurs only when children interact and demonstrate definite reactions. To discuss the question of bullying in depth, it is also necessary to refer to such sociological concepts as values, latent functions of the processes, and a family. Thus, bullying can be discussed as a result of violating the moral values by children in the family (Macionis, 2010, p. 67). This process has the specific latent functions which lead to developing the conflict between children.
The sociological research related to the issue of bullying has many practical implications because the research results can be used in order to state the connection between the parental care, parents’ focus on career, and the children’s behavior. There are benefits for children suffering from bullying, for bullies, and the parents because of the opportunity to find the roots of the problem (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005, p. 101). If there is the clear connection between the parents’ focus on career and children’s bullying, it is important to concentrate on counseling for parents and children in order to focus on the idea of parental care and support.
Thus, the research’s conclusions can be used in the counseling practice for developing strategies in working with the families of bullies. The practical value of the work is also in the opportunity to accentuate the role of family values and social norms for the children’s adequate development (Macionis, 2010, p. 66-67). Furthermore, those parents who pay much attention to their career and who experience problems in communicating with children, the psychologists working at school, and counselors consulting the families can use the results of the research in order to develop programs to decrease the levels of children’s aggression and anxiety and to focus on effects of the parental support.
Evidence of the Research
To discuss whether the hypothesis is credible and working, it is necessary to focus on the analysis of such types of evidence as the statistical data and results of the quantitative and qualitative researches. The data on bullying in the US schools for the period of 2009-2013 demosntrates that the bullying behavior is more typical for students who receive less support in the family. Thus, more than 47% of children demonstrating the deviant behavior at school, including bullying, are brought up in the families with the income which is less than $7500 per a stated period of time (NCCD, 2011; NCES, 2013). These data support the idea that the parents of these students are oriented to overcoming the material problems rather than focusing on bringing up children. However, it is also possible to interpret the results more generally, while focusing on the role of the social status for developing the bullying tendencies.
According to the results provided in the research by Wang, Iannotti, and Nansel, of 7182 children surveyed, those children who are from families with the higher level of the parental care and support are less inclined to become bullies, and the percentage of children becoming bullies is lower among higher parental care families, while comparing the results with the data for families with the lack of care or where the parents are focused on developing their careers (Wang, Iannotti, & Nansel, 2009, p. 368).
As a result, in this research, the dependent variable is the number of bullies and the independent variable is the parental care which can be categorized as high or low. The possible biases are associated with the fact that the data is rather general, and it can be interpreted not only with references to the idea of the parents’ focus on developing the career.
To discuss the qualitative data, it is important to refer to the research of Smokowski and Kopasz and Georgiou. According to Smokowski and Kopasz, bullying has a serious effect on the psychology of the bullied child and, eventually, the victims of bullying may become bullies because of the specific coping mechanism (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005, p. 101). Moreover, Georgiou has studied the influence of mothers on the behavior of the bullied and the bullying children. The research showed that the mother’s responsiveness was direclty related to the effectual adjsutment of the child at school (Georgiou, 2008, p. 109). These researches are important to discuss the adverse character of the process of bullying and to state that parent care and the adequate focus on the career can lead to coping with bullying.
The research has established a strong relationship between the parental support, the parents’ focus on career, and the development of bullying behavior among children. Usually, children from dysfunctional families are more likely to become bullies. Those parents who choose to pay much attention to developing their career usually cannot provide the necessary attention and care in relation to their children, thus, the discussed evidence supports the presented hypothesis. The children who are bullies usually present an inconsistent picture of their parents and often describe them as abusive. These children grow up in assertive, authoritative, and untrustworthy environment.
The bullying behavior of children is an escalation of troubled family issues of the child. The frustration and neglect the child faces at home gradually spills-over at school. Bullying can be discussed as the means for these children to express their anger, frustration, and gain a dominant position at school over those who are subservient. The research supports the hypothesis that children assert to bullying due to increasing problems in families, as more and more children have to live alone at home.
Connolly, I., & O’Moore, M. (2003). Personality and family relations of children who bully. Personality and Individual Differences, 35, 559–567. Web.
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Georgiou, S. N. (2008). Bullying and victimization at school: The role of mothers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 78(1), 109-125. Web.
Macionis, J. (2010). Sociology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Custom Publishing. Web.
NCCD. (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. Web.
Smokowski, P. R., & Kopasz, K. H. (2005). Bullying in School: An Overview of Types, Effects, Family Characteristics, and Intervention Strategies. Children Schools, 27(2), 101-110. Web.
Wang, J., Iannotti, R. J., & Nansel, T. R. (2009). School Bullying Among US Adolescents: Physical, Verbal, Relational and Cyber. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45(4), 368–375. Web.