Photo © 2001 AAP One/Liz Somerville/Photofusion
Bullying: it feels like it’s everywhere. Children feel victimised, and parents feel helpless. As society attempts to understand something which is spinning out of control, endless causes are being found - the internet, social media, cotton wool kids, television, parents, peer pressure, an even the kids themselves. No one knows what to do or where to point the blame.
So when we can’t understand something, we research it. We hope that when things are presented in a manner with graphs and figures, we can point at some data and say “There, that’s where the problem lies”.
A ten year research study, released today by the Herald Sun, shows data that suggests a trend towards bullies with an overinflated sense of ego - that stems mainly from too much praise from their parents.
Prof Helen McGrath from RMIT, a key player in Australia's anti-bullying policies, claims that parents who praise their child for small achievements, such as placing fourth in a race, need to start giving their children a dose of reality rather than lavish praise.
In an interview to the Herald Sun she says that international studies were showing kids with an inflated sense of ego were more likely to be ringleaders in bullying. Those with a high level of self-respect are more likely to help tackle the problem of bullying.
"Parents love their children and are trying really hard to keep their self-esteem high, not realising ... they've made the mistake of assuming that means their child can never have any failures, disappointments, sadness," she said. "But if we're getting kids who are increasing in their sense of narcissism, and the need to be entitled and always get positive feedback ... that is a fairly dangerous way for our community to go."