A recent study suggests that when parents tell kids to stand up to bullies they usually do, getting involved rather than staying out of the trouble.
Many anti-bullying programs focus on getting kids who witness bullying to intervene. The researchers noted that previous research has linked parent behavior to odds of their children being perpetrators or victims of bullying, but there is little information about how parents affect children who are bystanders.
The current study was published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The researchers surveyed 1,440 fourth and fifth graders about how classmates behaved in bullying incidents. They also did home interviews with parents to determine how kids were told to respond to hypothetical bullying.
Children in school whose classmates said they might get involved to stop bullies and comfort victims were more likely to have parents telling them at home that getting involved is the right thing to do. Children whose parents advised them to stay out of the trouble were less likely to help victims, and more likely to become bullies themselves.