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“As a Parent You Become a Tiger”: Parents Talking about Bullying at School

Hale, R and Fox, CL and Murray, MP (2017) “As a Parent You Become a Tiger”: Parents Talking about Bullying at School. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26 (7). pp. 2000-2015. ISSN 1062-1024

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Abstract

Bullying at school can be a distressing experience for children. It is also likely to be distressing for their parents. In spite of this, research in the field of school bullying and peer victimisation has tended to overlook the experience of parents when their child is bullied. This study explored school bullying from the parent’s perspective. Twenty-one parents took part in semi-structured focus groups and interviews to share their experiences. Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts identified two main themes: ’perceived institutional factors’ and ’being a good parent’. It was found that parents viewed their principal role as protecting their child; they referred to this as an instinct and fundamental to them being a good parent. However, during their attempts to help their child, many parents talked about difficulties working with schools and this triggered frustration and distrust towards teachers. The findings highlight the importance of communication between parents and teachers and ensuring that parents are kept informed of progress when teachers are trying to address the problem. Additionally, the findings indicate that parents may hold different views to teachers about their role in school bullying situations. This would suggest that parents looking at the situation from the teacher’s perspective, and vice versa, could help to build better parent-teacher relationships when tackling school bullying.

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