EVALUATING THE INFLUENCE OF PARENTING STYLES ON BULLYING BEHAVIOUR OF IN-SCHOOL ADOLESCENTS
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Bullying at school is a serious issue for a long time.
The relationship between parents and children possesses certain characteristics that explain permanent impact of one upon the other. This study investigated influence of parenting styles on bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
The study was a survey research.
The population of this study comprised all in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis while 300 respondents were used as sample size in the study.
A questionnaire titled “Influence of Parenting Styles on Bullying Behavior Questionnaire” (IPSBBQ) was used as an instrument to collect data needed for the study.
The variables taken into consideration were gender, age, religion and class.
Mean and rank order analysis were used to answer the main research questions while the nine null hypotheses formulated were tested using Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation (PPMC) statistical techniques.
The findings of the study revealed that parents do set limits for me in terms of behaviors; interact with me very well; and expect me to follow rules and regulations they set out.
The findings also revealed that in-school adolescents do not engaged in bullying behaviors in the sense that, in the last 6 weeks, respondents were not beaten up by someone stronger than they are; subjected to punishment by someone stronger than they are; threaten by someone stronger than they are.
It was also found that there significant relationship existed between parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
Also, there was significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis based on age, gender, religion and in-school adolescents from senior school but no significant relationship was found between the parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents from junior school.
Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that parents are here by encouraged to improve on their relationship with their adolescents and choose the right parenting style that will help the adolescents to behave socially among his peer group and perform well in the academic aspects.
The counsellors in educational system should make efforts in ensuring that in- school adolescents’ unwanted behaviors are modified through behavioral modification process.
The government should as a matter of urgency map out program that will improve the standard of living of in- school adolescents’ parents so that they can properly cater for their children.
Background to the Study
Parental strategy in rearing children has a significant impact on children’s developmental outcomes.
Theoretically, it could be expected that negative parenting characteristics, including strictness, neglect, control, punishment, and lack of support will potentially lead to subsequent child behavioral problems such as emotional problems and misconduct at school.
Parents provide the contexts for children learn pro-social strategies by scheduling extracurricular activities, nurture social competence and emotional well-being.
As per a family systems approach the relationships between siblings is also likely to impact school bullying through shared personal and environmental characteristics (Duncan, 2004; Wolke & Skew, 2012).
Parenting is a complicated occupation that requires many different skills.
It is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood (Davies, 2000).
It is a term that summarizes behaviors used by a parent to raise a child. Parenting is the way children are been reared or brought up, that is, child rearing employed by parents in training and bringing up their children from cradle to grave (Olujinmi, 2012).
Parenting practices around the world share three major goals: ensuring children’s health and safety, preparing children for life as productive adults and transmitting cultural values.
A high-quality parent-child relationship is critical for healthy development.
Parenting styles have been found to predict the child’s wellbeing in terms of social competence, academic performance, psychological development and problem behavior.
Its influence on the lives of adolescent is very vital (Alegre, 2008).
Okpoko (2004) and Utti (2006) defined parenting as the act of parenthood and child upbringing. Wikipedia (2012) also defines parenting as the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.
For the present study, the researchers define parenting as the skill of molding, shaping, guiding and supporting the development of an individual from infancy to adulthood. Parenting provides children opportunities for the acquisition of skills and experiences necessary for the achievement of goals in adulthood.
It plays a key role in the overall development of the child.
Such roles are social, educational and other adaptive behaviors that prepare the child for future fruitful living (Kelland, 2000).
Individuals carry out this function of parenting differently, because of differences in personalities and exposure, giving rise to different parenting styles.
Parenting style is a universal climate in which families function and in which child rearing behavior of parents or other primary care givers revolve (Chiew, 2011).
Kelland (2000) observes that where an ideal parenting style is employed in the home, the children are disciplined but where this is not, the reverse is the case. In this study, parenting style is referred to as how a person or a parent interacts with his or her children or wards.
It also refers to the different patterns that parents use to bring up their children.
A parenting style is the overall emotional climate in the home. It is a psychological construct representing standard strategies that parents use in child rearing.
Parental investment starts soon after birth. Parenting styles can be said to be the overall approach parents take to guiding, control and socializing their children, the attitudes that parents have about their children and the resulting emotional climate that is created (Spera, 2005).
Also, it can be said to be specific practices with which parents influence their children (Gwen, 2010).
Parenting style is affected by both the parent’s and the children’s temperaments and is largely based on the influence of one’s own parents, culture, family type and the relationship between the parents (Alegre, 2008).
Many parents create their own style from a combination of factors and these may evolve over time as the children develop their personalities and move through life’s stages.
Basically, parenting style was classified based on four dimensions these include child rearing: parental control, parental communication, parental maturity demands and parental nurturance (Alegre, 2008). Baumrind (1967) and Olujinmi (2012) classified parent interactive styles into four major groups and they are Authoritarian, permissive, democratic or uninvolved parents.
Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punitive parenting style in which parents makes their children follow their direction and respect their work and effort.
It emphasizes obedience above all else. Authoritative parenting is child-centered with parents communicating positive attitudes toward their children and encouraging the development of self-enhancing attribute (Meteyer & Jenkins, 2009). Permissive parenting is one of which parents are very involved with their children but place few demands or control on them.
They are nurturing and accepting, and are responsive to the child’s needs and wishes. Permissive parents do not present themselves as authority figures or role models.
They try to be friends with their children and do not play a parental role (Rosenthan, 2002).
Democratic parenting is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. Uninvolved parents are unaware or indifferent to their child’s developmental needs; they are inconsistent with emotion, affection and discipline, and range from not reacting at all to their child’s behavior to tremendous over reaction (Pellerin, 2005).
They are detached and emotionally disengaged.
Through the long history of research on parenting, significant correlations have been found between parenting styles and children’s typical behavior.
Authoritarian parents tend to have children who are more likely to be irritable and conflicted, showing signs of both anxiety and anger, not socially skillful and are susceptible to being bullied.
Authoritative parenting produces many positive outcomes in children: adaptability, competence and achievement, good social skills and peer acceptance and low levels of antisocial or aggressive behavior.
Permissive parents are more likely to have exhibit uncontrolled, impulsive behaviors and low levels of self-reliance, low on cognitive competence and social agency.
Children of uninvolved parents are likely to be impulsive, to show high level of both externalizing problems (e.g. aggressive) and internalizing problems (e.g. depression) and to have low self-esteem (Broderick & Blewitt, 2010).
Parenting styles are different manners of parents’ child relationship.
Parenting is a complex activity that includes specific behaviors that work individually and together to influence the child.
Although specific parenting behaviors, such as spanking or reading aloud, may influence the child’s development, looking at any specific behavior in isolation may be misleading.
However, there are people who have noted that specific parenting practices are less important in predicting child well-being than is the broad pattern of parenting.
Most researchers who attempt to describe this broad parental milieu rely on Diana Baumrind’s concept of parenting style.
The construct of parenting style is used to capture normal variations in parents’ attempts to control and socialize their children (Baumrind, 1991; Aunola & Nurmi, 2005).
There are two things that are critical in understanding this definition.
First, parenting style is meant to describe normal variations in parenting.
In other words, the parenting style typology developed by Baumrind should not be understood to include deviant parenting, such as might be observed in abusive or neglectful homes.
Second, it is assumed that normal parenting revolves around issues of control.
Although parents may differ in how they try to control or socialize their children and the extent to which they do so, it is believed that the primary role of all parents is to influence, teach, and control their children but could also lead to children bullying behaviour (Aunola & Nurmi, 2005).
Bullying has since been regarded as a global behavioral problem that occurs in schools.
Indeed, the phenomenon of bullying behavior has increasingly become a worldwide problem that demands the attention of all stake holders in the educational system.
This situation appears to have reached a stage where it can be said that almost every student has been bullied or involved in bullying at one time or another during their educational program or career (Rigby, 2007).
Bullying is a distinct form of aggression characterized by a repeated and systematic abuse of power.
Bullying occurs when one or more students seek to have power over another student through the use of verbal, physical or emotional harassment, intimidation or even isolation (Zirpoly, 2009).
According to Mitropoulos and Giovazolias (2013), bullying is an intentional, continual aggressive behavior towards a person, the victim, who cannot defend himself, and this usually involves an imbalance of power between the aggressor and the victim.
Any behavior a person exhibits, with the intention to hurt another person physically or psychologically, for no just cause, is considered an act of bullying (Nwokolo, Ayamene & Efobi, 2011).
Giving reference to British legal definition, Kim (2004) saw bullying as a long-standing violence, physical or psychological, carried out by an individual or a group and directed against an individual, who is not able to defend himself in the actual situation, with a conscious desire to hurt, threaten or frighten the individual or put him under stress.
There are several types of bullying in schools. Bullying can take many forms as in direct bullying, indirect bullying and Cyber bullying.
Direct bullying can be physical assault on the victims or verbal attack. School bullies often result to teasing and taunting their victims, verbal attacks, shoving etc. Indirect bullying is more to verbal and social behavior.
Bullies will verbally and emotionally attack their victims. Such as, spreading inaccurate rumors about a person, spoilt their reputation, practical jokes, shunning etc.
A new and emerging form of school bullying is the Cyber-bullying.
This involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and paper text-messages, instant messages, defamatory personas websites to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that intended to harm others (Wollare, 2006)
Bullying in schools inherently affects the school climate and school atmosphere, as well as impacting on perceptions of safety at school. Bullying creates a climate of fear among students, inhibits their ability to learn which usually result in activities such as vandalism, boycott of lectures, disruption of school program, skipping school, high rate of adolescents out of school, loss of lives and properties and closing down of schools in some cases (Okulaja, 2010).
The effects of bullying can be serious and even fatal. Unfortunately, it is dangerously underrated as schools and adults are not taking the problems seriously enough (Kumpulainen, 2008; Egbochuku, 2007).
A number of factors can be responsible for the development of the attitude of bullying in students. According to Neto (2005), the world outside the school is reproduced within the school.
Also Cook, Guerra, Kim and Sadek (2010) believe that factors like family home environment, school climate, community factors, peer status and peer influence can be related to bullying behavior.
However, the presence of negative parenting techniques such as poor supervision, inconsistent discipline and corporal punishment may contribute to children displaying negative behavior (Essau, Sasagawa, & Frick, 2006; Gutman & Vorhaus, 2012).
In addition, Gámez-Guadix, Straus, Carrobles, Muñoz-Rivas and Almendros (2010) found that parents using corporal punishment significantly increased the probability of their children expressing antisocial traits or negative behaviours. Further, Mulvaney and Mebert (2007) showed a significant correlation between corporal punishment and negative behavioral adjustment among children.
In addition, Van As and Janssens (2012) also proposed that the poor quality of parent-child interaction and the lack of parental support are related to children’s behavioral problems.
Broadly speaking, an empirical body of literature has established that corporal punishment, characterized by screaming, yelling, shouting, slapping, and hitting a child, was found to be related to children’s behavioral problems. Overall, the findings emerging from the above studies point to the conclusion that negative parent-child rearing practices are associated with children’s behavioral problems.
Nevertheless, there is much debate and controversy within the literature of the relative impact of parenting styles and cultural effects.
Although some studies support an association between parenting styles and their child’s outcomes, some evidence suggests that this relation may differ across cultures (Dai, 2009; Deater-Deater-Deckard, Dodge, Bates, & Pettit, 2006; Huntsinger & Jose, 2009; Stormshak, Bierman, McMahon & Lengua, 2000).
For instance, physical discipline has been found to be positively associated with higher externalizing and aggression scores in European American children, but in African American children this correlation was negligible and non-significant (Deater-Deckard, et al., 2006).
Chao (2001) reported that Chinese American youth raised in an authoritative parenting style did not show higher school attainment than their peers with authoritarian parents.
It was concluded that authoritative parenting styles have less effect for Asian American children than for their European American counterparts.
Furthermore, it is suggested that a proportion of parents in Eastern and Islamic societies believe that parents should be firm and restrictive.
The idea that an authoritarian parenting style is desirable may stem from the parents’ belief that this
will lead to positive consequences for children’s social and academic lives, and lead to their children learning to value discipline, norms and social hierarchy (Alsheikh, Parameswaran & Elhoweris, 2010).
However, inconsistent with the above notion related to the eastern culture, a study of 262 Syrian pre-school children showed that authoritarian, harshness, rejection and neglect parenting styles were negatively related to children’s personal and social adjustment; whereas , democratic styles were positively associated with children’s social adjustment (Muhriz, Ahmad, & Al-Atum, 2005).
Yet, the contradictory findings indicate that the effect of varying parenting styles is mixed and possibly inconsistent, particularly among eastern societies.
From this perspective, further investigation concerning the role of parenting styles among non-western societies is essential.
Based on these differences in the effect of parenting styles across cultures it can be suggested that generalizations about parenting styles and their effect on children should be viewed with caution.
Fielder (2008) believed that the development of bullying can be viewed as part of a large process of interaction, with the home at its root.
Thus he opined that bullying behavior is to a great extent believed to be a by-product of family dynamics. Likewise researchers observed that the quality of the environment and the family can be linked to the adolescents’ relationship and behavior at the school (Joronen & Astett-kurki, 2005; Fielder, 2008, Cook, et al, 2010).
All these point to the possible link between bullying and familial factors. Thus the present study seeks to specifically look into the influence of parenting styles on bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
Statement of the Problems
Bullying at school is a serious issue for a long time.
The relationship between parents and children possesses certain characteristics that explain permanent impact of one upon the other.
Researchers noted that children whose parents create a loving home environment are often seen to engage in socially acceptable behaviors and achieve academically better than those whose parents deprive loving home environment and are permissive.
Social vices have affected several schools in Ilorin metropolis which is seriously threatening the survival of education.
For young children, family appears to be a key context, both for understanding the origins of bully problems and for seeking further avenues of prevention.
The experiences of children has at home can affect how they conduct themselves in school.
Researchers (Ahmed & Braithwaite, 2004) have long accepted that aggression can be learned through observation of aggressive behavior such as by parents.
Bullying and victimization behaviors in school are strongly influenced by parenting and family environment, and may also flow through the generations in a cycle of violence (Talib, Mohamad & Mamat, 2011).
That is because family is a powerful force in a child’s life.
Lack of proper child rearing and ineffective communication with the youngsters which has exposed them to various forms of immoral activities such as disobedience to adults, running away from home and school, crime, sexual risk behavior, violence, hooliganism amongst others (Micki, 2008).
Several studies have been carried out on parenting styles and bullying behavior.
For instance, Nirmala and Baki (2009) carried out a study on relationship between parenting styles and adolescent’s reaction to conflict.
The study showed that family is a place, in which skills are taught and the groundwork for enhancement of personality and increasing of adaptability is laid.
The researcher believes that in order to control the emotions and limit behaviors, the personality should be adequately disciplined.
Instability of personality is mostly observed in those adolescents who have permissive mothers. Lazarus, Mohammed & Adigun (2012) examined parenting styles and self-concept on emotional adjustment of Nigeria secondary school students.
The findings revealed that parenting styles and self-concept have greater influence on emotional adjustments of the respondents.
One of the reasons for the poor performance of the students may be due to the parenting style adopted by their parents.
Darling (2007) carried out a study on parenting style and its correlates and thus reported that parenting style predicts child well-being in the domains of social competence, academic performance, psychosocial development and problem behavior.
Wu (1998) studied on factors affecting adolescent delinquency in Singapore.
It was also found that the mean of delinquency scores from age group 15 is significantly different from that of the other age groups while the mean of delinquency scores for age groups of 12, 13, and 14 and above 16 are about the same.
Duncan (2004) carried out a research on the impact of family relationships on school bullies and their victims.
The study revealed differences in family characteristics between youth without significant bullying involvement and children identified as bullies, victims, and bully-victims (i.e., youth who both bully others and are bullied).
Baldry and Farrington (2000) opined that bullies are more likely to come from families with authoritarian parents who condone fighting back. Jansen, Veenstra, Ormel, Verhulst and Reijneveld (2011) examined early risk factors for being a bully, victim, or bully/victim in late elementary and early secondary education.
The study revealed that children from low socioeconomic backgrounds have been found to bully others slightly more often.
Bowes, Arseneault, Maughan, Taylor, Caspi and Moffitt (2009) found bullying others to be associated with low socio-economic status, including economic that disadvantage, poverty, and low parental education.
To the best of the researcher’s knowledge, none of these studies have focused on the influence of parenting styles on bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
Therefore, this is the gap which the present research intends to bridge.
The following research questions were raised to guide the conduct of this study:
1. What are the influences of parenting styles experienced by in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
2. What are the bullying behaviors of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
3. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
4. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of young in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
5. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of older in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
6. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of male in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
7. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of female in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
8. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of private school in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
9. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of public school in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis?
10. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis that practices Christianity?
11. Is there any relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis that practices Islam?
The following null hypotheses have been postulated for testing in this study:
1. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
2. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of young in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
3. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of older in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
4. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of male in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
5. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of female in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
6. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of senior secondary school in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
7. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of junior secondary in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis.
8. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis that practices Christianity.
9. There is no significant relationship in the parenting styles and bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis that practices Islam.
Purpose of the Study
The main focus of this study is to investigate the influence of parenting styles on bullying behavior of in-school adolescents in Ilorin metropolis. Basically, the study will investigate whether there are significant differences in the perception of in-school adolescents in terms of moderating variables of gender, age, religion and class level.
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be of benefit to parents, in-school adolescents, school counsellor, school authority and teachers.
The study would benefit parents in the various home, the findings of this study could help them gain insight on the influence of parenting styles on children behavior especially bullying behavior’s.
This would assist to see the need to adjust their child rearing practices and seek necessary assistance.
To the in-school adolescents, the findings will assist them to understand how bullying behavior is influenced by parenting styles.
Thus, may intimate them of taking necessary steps in addressing the behavior.
To the school counsellors, it will assist them to know causes of bullying behavior, especially influence of parenting styles on bullying behaviors of students and to develop appropriate strategies to assist parent in adopting appropriate parenting style that will not lead to bullying.
The study provides the need for school counsellors to identify victims, prevent victimization, and helping students to interact in more appropriate way with their school mates.
The study provides greater insight to the school administrators, managers and teachers on the negative influence of parenting styles and bullying behavior on victims.
Finally, The findings will also informs teacher’s understanding on influence of parenting styles on bullying behavior of in-school adolescents and also informs teacher preparation colleges and educational curriculum developers to improve their program so that teachers can be more effective in dealing with bullying among in-school adolescents.