Researchers Reveal the Scary Reason You Should Never Tease Your Child

A new study says children mocked at home are likely to be bullied at school.

In recent years, our approach toward school bullying has significantly shifted. What was once considered an unpleasant but normal part of growing up is now seen as a serious issue that should be eradicated, especially since research has shown that being bullied as a child or young adult carries several long-term consequences on mental and physical health.

Now, a new study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence is cautioning parents to consider how their own relationship with their children is affecting their risk of being picked on at school. The researchers followed 1,409 teens between the ages of 13 and 15 (from grade 7 through 9) for three consecutive years and found that those who felt teased or mocked by their parents were more likely to get bullied by their classmates than those who did not.

"The results indicated that derisive parenting in Grade 7 was associated with increases in adolescent dysregulated anger from Grade 7 to 8, which, in turn, was associated with increases in bullying and victimization from Grade 8 to 9," the paper reads. "The findings suggest that parents who are derisive have children who struggle with emotional regulation and, ultimately, with constructive peer relationships."

According to the researchers, these findings are important because it's easy to forget that what might sound like a joke to an adult can have a very negative impact on a child.

"Implications from our study are far-reaching: practitioners and parents should be informed of the potential long-term costs of sometimes seemingly harmless parenting behaviors such as belittlement and sarcasm," said Daniel J. Dickson, PhD, a member of the Department of Psychology at Concordia University and lead author of the study. "Parents must be reminded of their influence on adolescents' emotions and should take steps to ensure that adolescents do not feel ridiculed at home."

It's also worth remembering that, according to experts, children who feel bullied in some way by their parents can often turn into bullies themselves.

"The urge or need to bully comes from a primitive need to recover one's self-worth and self-respect," Hanalei Vierra, a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of The True Heart of a Man told Best Life, adding that this urge usually stems from growing up in an household in which they experience a lot of "shame and humiliation about themselves."

And for more recent research on bullying and its effects, learn how this New Study Says Teasing Kids about Their Weight Leads to Weight Gain.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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