'Championing the rights of children'

Over-protected children 'more likely to be bullied'

Garry Fri 26 Apr 2013 09:25

Children who have over-protective parents are more likely to be bullied by their peers, research suggests.

A review of 70 studies looking at 200,000 children suggests parents who "buffer" children from negative experiences make them more vulnerable.

But children who have harsh or negative parents are most likely to be bullied, it finds.

Professor Dieter Wolke said everyone looked at schools, but his study says bullying really starts at home.

The University of Warwick-based psychology professor said he was expecting to find that children with the harshest parents were most likely to become prey to bullies.

But he said he was somewhat surprised to discover that children with over-protective parents were also at an increased risk of bullying.

'Deal with conflict'
He said: "Although parental involvement, support and high supervision decrease the chances of children being involved in bullying, for victims - overprotection increased this risk.

"Children need support but some parents try to buffer their children from all negative experiences. In the process, they prevent their children from learning ways of dealing with bullies and make them more vulnerable."

He added: "It is as if children need to have some distress so that they know how to deal with conflict. If the parents all the time do it for them then the children don't have any coping strategies and are more likely targets."

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... (BBC News - 26 April)