Parents Who Bully Their Children

In today’s society, bullying is quickly taking over as one of the biggest concerns when it comes to adolescent development. Peer pressure, gang initiation and overly aggressive parenting tactics are often seen as types of bullying. Children who are bullied are often known to be depressed, withdrawn and more self-conscious than other students. Learn about Parents Who Bully Their Children!

When discussing bullying, the majority of people think of bullies as other students or a child’s peers. In some cases, the bullies that cause the most damage are the parents. This can often be seen at athletic events where overzealous parents berate the opposing teams’ players and coaches. Parents who push their children to compete will often degrade or humiliate them if they make mistakes or don’t perform well enough to meet their standards.

Aggressive Parenting

Aggressive parenting tactics are often considered harsh and unyielding. While the children who grow up in that type of environment are brought up to believe it is normal, it allows them to believe that aggression and humiliation are common and acceptable methods of teaching. Berating children and humiliating them until they perform adequately can lower a child’s self esteem and lead to depression and other emotional problems.

Children who are brought up in a home were capital punishment is common, often learn more out of fear than out of the desire to understand. Aggressive parenting tactics can include mental, emotional and physical forms of abuse. Parents force their children to do what they are told by threatening them with a variety of punishments ranging from lengthy periods of time outs to spankings.

In some circles of society, parents who scold or reprimand their children publicly are often considered to be overly aggressive. Parenting styles range from family to family. Not everyone will agree with another person’s choices. Professionals in the field are often asked to weigh in on what the exact line is between overly aggressive parenting tactics and physical/verbal abuse.

It is common knowledge that the majority of people believe that abuse that occurs in the home can be even more damaging than that which occurs in a school setting. Children strive to gain the love and affection of their parents. When a parent uses an overly aggressive method of parenting, the child may begin to question their own value and doubt the parents’ love.

Discipline or Bullying?

Counselors and therapists claim there is a fine line between aggressive forms of discipline and bullying. Parents who are under large amounts of stress due to their jobs or financial issues can often go overboard on discipline. Discipline is meant to teach children right from wrong. Parents who use discipline as a tool for control are often considered bullies due to the nature of the tactics they use.

A child who accidentally breaks a dish or spills food on the floor can be disciplined with a few minutes in time out or being deprived of their favorite game. Parents who call their child names or make fun of them for being accident prone, can actually cause the child to be extremely self-conscious.

Parents who realize their actions are hurtful to their children may seek counseling to help them resolve their issues. Although they may not realize the extent of their actions, it is most often quickly brought to their attention when they begin to display angry outbursts at their childs’ athletic events. Over the years, many instances of parents bullying their children on a ball field has resulted in the parent being asked to leave the facility. This type of behavior can be distressing to the child and upsetting to the other parents.

Bullying At Home Leads to Bullying In School

Children who are bullied at home by their parents or older siblings, will often become bullies at school. When bullying behaviors are taught by parents, young children automatically begin to accept them as normal behavior. It isn’t until they enter school that other forms of discipline are learned. Once bullying patterns are taught, either through parental discipline or verbal/emotional/physical abuse, they will remain with the child until they are unlearned or something more prominent takes their place.

During the formative years, constant bullying from older siblings can create patterns of aggression that last through the child’s developmental phases and on into their school years. Children will often treat others according to how they were treated in the past. This means that if they were constantly yelled at or made fun of by a parent, their reaction to others would be the same.

If the pattern were allowed to continue on past high school, it is quite probable that the same behaviors would be used on their own children as well. Therapists and psychologists believe that in most cases, a child who was bullied by his or her parents would, in turn, bully their own children. It has been proven through various studies that children who were physically abused by their parents, eventually abused their own children in the same fashion.

The cycle of abuse that begins with the parents is perpetuated as the child grows to be an adolescent and then into an adult. To stop the cycle of abuse and eliminate the bullying mentality, measures must be taken early on. It is often hard to approach a parent who is believed to be a bully due to the fact that their response is unknown. Will they become aggressive to the individual or will they turn their aggression onto the child after the individual leaves?

The question creates a slippery slope that many prefer to avoid. The problem is how to protect the child or prevent them from continuing to be bullied. In this situation there are no easy answers and great care must be taken to keep the child from being injured or caught in the middle of a verbal altercation between the adults.

Teaching Parents to Control Aggressive Behaviors

Parents who are aware that their parenting styles or overly aggressive behavior may be damaging to their children, will often seek counseling to help them deal with issues on a more appropriate levels. In some cases, a parent may be forced through the court to take parenting classes or counseling to help them learn why their behavior is damaging.

Parenting styles have changed dramatically over the last 40 years. What was once acceptable in many homes, is now frowned up and considered to be detrimental to a child’s emotional and mental development. Many parents have no idea that disciplinary methods used when they were a child are no longer acceptable by today’s standards.

Some states and churches recommend parenting classes to newlywed couples who are considering starting a family. The hope is that old parenting patterns will be replaced with newer, less aggressive methods of discipline and instruction. High schools and colleges are also joining the trend by implementing zero tolerance bullying programs designed to help students understand why bullying is so dangerous. Showing children and teens how destructive bullying can be, will hopefully encourage them to use less aggressive parenting tactics when they have children of their own.

Parents who bully their children do not realize the harm they are doing until they watch them begin to bully others. They also do not relate bullying to their disciplinary methods because they are acting in much the same way that their parents did. Behavioral studies performed over the years show that children who have been raised in abusive homes often become abusers themselves. Psychologists who have witnessed the patterns, have been encouraging parents to change their discipline styles for several years.

Teachers and school faculty members may approach the parents of children who seem overly aggressive in the hopes of offering them help. While some parents take offense to the offer, others begin to realize how destructive their patterns really are. Teaching children by example and encouraging them to learn from their mistakes are positive ways for parents to turn their aggressive parenting habits into more productive experiences.

Parenting methods have changed over the years. Overly aggressive disciplinary tactics have given way to more instructional forms of punishment. While there are still parents who use spanking, time outs and other disciplinary measures, many are attempting to use more positive ways to get children to comply with family rules. Aggressive forms of discipline and bullying tactics are being frowned upon, mainly due to the fact that children who are exposed to them often repeat them in school or on the athletic field.

Bullying Statistics - Anti-Bullying Help, Facts, and More

Bullying parents are often overbearing and controlling, these parents may become involved in physical or mental bullying, or even cyber bullying. This article helps define what a bully is, emotional and mental bullying, cyber bullying, and tips on dealing with bullying parents.

When you think of bullies, you often think of children terrorizing other children. However, it is important to note that even parents can be bullies. Bullying parents exist, and they can cause real problems in children’s lives. Recently, there have been cases of adults bullying teenagers online. Additionally, some parenting styles can lend themselves to bullying. It is important to carefully consider your behavior with children, since it is possible that you are or could become a bullying parent.

What is a bully?

A bully is someone who is regularly overbearing. He or she looks to cause humiliation or discomfort to another, particularly if that other is weaker or smaller. This can be physical bullying, emotional bullying or mental discomfort and humiliation. It is important to understand that bullying goes beyond physical intimidation. Many people don’t realize that emotional and mental bullying can have just as many long lasting effects as physical bullying – even though the effects are of different kinds. The effects from bullying parents are no less severe.

It may seem strange to think that parents can be bullies, but they can be. Parents who are overbearing, constantly belittling their children or seeking to be controlling, and enforcing rules with a heavy hand, may actually be crossing the line into bullying parent behavior. Indeed, there is a difference between correcting a child’s inappropriate behavior and constantly trying to control every aspect of that child’s life.

Emotional and mental bullying parents

Many bullying parents understand that there is a line when it comes to physicality. Discipline can be a tough subject to tackle, but in general it is much easier to identify bullying behaviors that are physical as opposed to those that are emotional or mental. Emotional and mental bullying works by using methods of demeaning speech and other techniques that are meant to help the bully feel superior.

When bullying parents use this style of parenting, they try and motivate their children by being derisive. This can be especially damaging, since it can encourage a child to think ill of him/herself. This can leave mental scars that can result in depression, as well as set the child up to have difficulty sustaining good relationships. Indeed, if a child learns how to treat people form the example of a bullying parent, he or she is likely to grow to be a bully as well, and may have a hard time developing healthy relationships.

Cyberbullying by Bullying Parents

Another form of bullying is cyberbullying. Some parent bullying is developing along these lines as they try and dominate others in an online social circle. Cyberbullying is becoming a real problem. It involves saying mean things online, putting unflattering graffiti on someone’s social wall, or sharing pictures with others of a person in compromising situations. Indeed, cyberbullying is such a problem that there was a case in which an adult woman harassed a teenager so much online that the teen went into depression and committed suicide.

Some bullying parents use such tactics to control their children’s lives online. Other parents think they are protecting their own children when they bully other kids. Indeed, in an effort to try and protect their kids, some parents go too far in trying to teach other kids a lesson and become bullies themselves.

Dealing with parent bullying

Dealing with a parent bully can be difficult. The first thing you should try is to talk to the parent. Try and work out differences. If that doesn’t work, it is a good idea to talk to some sort of authority at the school, or even with law enforcement. It is important that parent bullying be stopped, especially since it can be damaging to the long term psyche of the child.

Bully parents

Sad girl with teddy bearBullying parents are a very dangerous phenomenon in our society, because parents are supposed to be the people who protect their kids from bullying. Yet, as I have described in previous chapters, there are many parents who feel weak and lack the emotional intelligence to maintain a sense of control without bullying someone else. Being smaller and weaker makes kids easy targets for them.

It is parents’ “job” to provide for their kids’ basic needs:

1.They need to give them a sense of trust

2.They need to build their kids confidence and prepare them for independent life

3.They need to provide their kids with a sense of security (physical, social and emotional)

4.They need to give them a sense of love and belonging

5.They need to provide their kids with food, drink, air, shelter, education…

6.They need to provide understanding and support (physically and emotionally)

7.They need to give them verbal encouragement

8.They need to provide their kids a sense of fairness within the family

9.They need to spend with their kids

10.They need to provide healthy environment (food, physical)

It is not easy to provide for kids all the above needs. However, some parents do the opposite by bullying their kids.

Why are there bully parents?

Parents bully their kids because they have been bullied themselves as children or they are being bullied by someone else (often severely or continuously for a long time – see Workplace Bullying). This creates a never-ending cycle of parents who bully their kids, causing them to grow up and bully their own kids (and other people at work) and so on.

Often, people who have been bullied as children do not realize that their behavior is bullying. When you grow up in a place where bullying is the norm, you accept it as part of life and behave accordingly.

I am sure you have gone to a friend’s home many times and discovered that they ran things differently, which questioned the way things are done in your family. In the past, aggressive behavior, physical violence and abuse of power were part of daily life – kids were physically beaten at school with a cane or denied food or sleep as part of a discipline method that was totally controlled by their parents.

When kids are bullied at home and have never learned ways to resolve conflicts peacefully, they react in an aggressive way when things seem to get out of control with their own kids. Had they lived in a home where the parents set a good example of conflict resolution, they would have developed healthy ways to handle challenges and difficulties.

Childhood bullying is also connected to challenge in handling emotions, lack of self discipline and inability to manage stress, which causes people to react in a snappy, impulsive way to things that seem difficult. Because their parents were responsible for teaching communication and used abuse as a way to communicate, they grow up lacking communication skills, which increases their frustration with communication with their kids and makes them more aggressive and violent.

"Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime." Herbert Ward

Growing up in a home where Dad was abusive towards Mom can send a message that women are weak and need to be controlled, which can be directed later towards kids as well. Some men bully their wives and daughters as a result of growing up in at a time and place where women had no say.

Some parents bully their kids because they are bullied at work. Feeling weak because of lack of power at work increases the risk of neglecting kids from overwork, not being able to support the kids because of emotional drain and lashing out at the kids as an outlet.

Another reason parents are bullies is that they are bullied by their partner, which makes them feel inferior, so they turn on their kids.

There are two forms of parent bullying: Physical, Emotional (including social).

Parents’ physical bullying

Physical bullying is an act of physical aggression that causes injury.

1.Shaking a baby or a toddler (can lead to brain injury)

2.Drug or alcohol use in pregnancy (can seriously damage the baby)

3.Physical punishment – linking the child’s actions with physical consequences







10.Hair pulling

11.Throwing the child

12.Denial of food

13.Preventing the child from going to the toilet or washing

14.Making the child to do what the parent wants by physical force

15.Use of objects to cause pain, like belting or burning the skin with cigarettes or a hot iron

16.Sexual abuse – any kind of sexual act between an adult and child, including revealing genitals, exhibiting pornography, telling sexual stories, forcing a child to touch adult genitals, sexual intercourse, penetration, rape and child prostitution

Kids are at a higher risk in families living in isolation, orphanages and families in financial crisis. Again, some parents do not even recognize that this behavior is bullying, because they grew up with such parents (or carers) themselves.

Parents’ emotional bullying

Emotional bullying is harder to detect, but its impact is huge and last for a long time. Parents sometimes behave in such a way thinking they are doing what is normal or even doing their kids a favor. Parents’ emotional bullying can be done by aggressive or passive-aggressive behavior that creates humiliation and/or fear.

1.Girl hiding her faceThreatening

2.Name calling

3.Using foul language

4.Insulting, especially in public

5.Creating competitions between siblings

6.Negative gender-related comments (you play like a girl!)

7.Negative remarks about preferences

8.Negative comments about skills

9.Favoritism towards one child

10.Causing fear of physical bullying



13.Unreasonably strict rules

14.Telling the child it would be better if they were not born

15.Telling the child the parent does not want him or her

16.Controlling the child’s every movement

17.Continuous criticism

18.Competing with the child

19.Unfair punishment

20.Violation of the child’s privacy

21.Ignoring and neglect

22.Uncompromising perfectionism

23.Exposing the child to violence, drugs, extensive alcohol use or crime

24.Prevention of social interaction (with friends, other partner, grandparents)

25.Slavery – helping at home is reasonable, but having to earn enough money to pay for school or for your own food as a child is illegal

In every family, there is some kind of emotional bullying, mainly because there is a fine line between what is considered abuse and what is part of our role as parents. While some call forcing kids to eat what is on the table bullying, others may call it educating them to appreciate money and health. Unfortunately, because the line between them is so fine, parents can, with no bad intention, justify themselves by thinking this is the way they have been brought up or that without it, they will lose control.

Each form of bullying of parents towards their kids causes a problem in their physical and emotional development. Sometimes, it can even affect their cognitive development. The earlier the abuse is and the longer it continues, the more severe the damage will be and the longer it will impact the child’s life. In most cases, the effects of a serious act of bullying will be there forever and there is a high probability the abused child will grow up to be a bully too.

Parental bullying information

Here are some findings about the impact of parents’ bullying on their kids:

Child protection posterMost of the kids who suffer bullying from their parents bully their own kids

Kids who suffer from parental bullying become suspicious of other people

Kids who suffer bullying by their parents have difficulties maintaining relationships as adults

Kids who suffer bullying by their parents have lower self-esteem, problems with concentration, more learning difficulties and lower academic achievements

Kids who suffer bullying by their parents are less likely to take on challenges because of fear of failure. They expect less of themselves and achieve less

About 80% of kids subjected to long periods of physical abuse develop a mental disorder: depression, panic attacks, paranoia or social isolation

Kids who suffer bullying by their parents tend to show aggressive behavior. They sometimes even become extremely violent

Some kids who suffer bullying by their parents become self-destructive (self-harm, suicide)

Kids who suffer bullying by their parents are more likely to have sleeping problems and eating disorders

Kids who suffer bullying by their parents are more likely use alcohol and drugs to ease their emotional pain

The impact on kids’ health and wellbeing and their ability to function as independent adults is reduced significantly when growing up with bullying parent.


Parents comfort their daughter.Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, there are several resources that may help.


Bullied By Your Parents

When we think about bullying, often the thought of parents bullying their children are not the images we associate with it. While the situation at home may be one that is intolerable, there are adult role models, such as counselors at school, coaches, aunts or uncles and other adult figures that young people can turn to for support. Beyond Bullies also offers an online confidential chat for bullied teens by their peers.

Fifteen-year-old Beyond Bullies volunteer, Semara, (last name not used for privacy), studied the five-step recovery model in Karyl McBride’s book, Will I Ever Be Good Enough, to shed light on the steps children can take to protect themselves against parents who bully them.

Tough Love is an expression often used when you treat someone harshly or sternly to bring about some positive change.

There is usually love behind a veil of toughness, but what happens when this power parents’ use gets out of hand and how can we tell the difference between what is genuine or what is deceptively done to hinder us?

As children, we see images of the stereotypical family; a loving and comforting mother and the kind and protective father, always encouraging and supporting their kids every step of the way. For many of us, this could not be farther from realit

Some of us may not face our bullies outside at school, but within the walls of the very place, we call home. Whether your mom or dad says phrases such as, “You’ll never be good enough!” or “Can’t you do anything right you ___?” can be very commonly spewed out by them, much more so than genuine encouragement, acceptance or love.

Bullied children may have several experiences of their parents insulting them in front of relatives or maybe even strangers. A parent sharing your faults with others repeatedly can be humiliating and unfair. Others may now label you as the undisciplined or angry child, while the parents look like the concerned authorities.

When adults are talking about you, it is difficult to stand up for yourself. Adults are more adept at getting their points across and most children are not able to communicate calmly and logically in order to defend themselves.

This type of adult bullying can also extend to teachers who talk to other teachers about you, which can also tarnish your reputation.

When your parents and the adults you trust are putting you down and insulting you, it can hurt your self-esteem and can extend to anything you do in life. It can lead to wounds that can never be recognized or healed and maybe even the root to some of our issues we currently face as adults.

Children may suffer from social anxiety as a result and try to please everyone around us out of desperation to win approval, the one we have never gotten from our parents. Some may end up as overachievers as a result, and the rest may end up as underachievers; believing they really are good for nothing, so why even bother to try?

Well the good news is this need not continue for long nor do we need to put up with any of it. We are entitled to our own rights, and absolutely no one, not even our own parents can take that away from us. Here are a few steps to effective deal with “bully parents”.

First off, we need to be aware of how our parents act towards us. Ask yourself, whether you did something that would cause them to be so harsh. Be aware of how it happens and what situations trigger it, and the next time it does. Then ask an adult whom you trust to witness this in motion. Have the adult talk to your parents and point out this issue to them to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If that doesn’t work, then try avoiding situations that trigger your parents to bully you. Remember, they have their own issues and that they may not be able to separate their expectations or frustrations. You can try to cut them off when they begin to criticize you, or maybe even psychologically cut ties with them, by reframing whatever they say in a positive light. Let yourself know that you are a wonderful human being capable of many great things, and that you shouldn’t let what another person and yes that includes your parents, let you down. Whenever something they say affects you in a negative light, just focus on the rest of your good traits and ignore your inner critic.