By Paul Majendie
LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuter) - School bullies may lash out in theplayground because they are reacting to neglect and punishmentat home, researchers said on Tuesday.
As many as one in three British children say they havefallen prey to bullies and Professor Rowan Myron-Wilson believesparents could hold the key to the soaring figures.
She and fellow psychologist Peter Smith from London'sGoldsmith's College established the link after studying 72school children aged between seven and 11.
``Although bullying begins at school, the roots are in thefamily and the behaviour the children see there,'' Myron-Wilsonsaid at the British Psychological Society conference where thefindings were being presented.
``Those who had a high bullying score were more likely tosee their parents more negatively. They saw their parents asbeing more neglectful and punitive,'' she said.
The study is now being widened to take in another 200children and this time psychologists will also elicit responsesfrom the parents in a bid to get to the heart of the problem.
``Perhaps more emphasis can be placed on incorporatingparents into any programmes underway in the school,''Myron-Wilson said.
Girls usually prefer mental torture while boy bullies aremuch more physical.
``It tends to be girls who do the indirect bullying. Theyare much more socially manipulative at excluding them from thegroup,'' Myron-Wilson said.
Children can be naturally cruel as everyone from actor MelGibson to Prince Charles has discovered.
Gibson, mocked at his Australian school for having anAmerican accent, used to fend off bullies by making jokes.Playing the school jester helped develop his acting talents.
Heir-to-the-throne Charles confessed to being miserable atGordonstoun school where boys would pick on him and then boast:``We punched the future king of England.''
Myron-Wilson said: ``I think some experience of falling outwithin friendship groups is an inevitable part of childhood.Your friends have the power to hurt you. But bullying is moremalicious and should not be an inevitable part of childhood.''
Article from Mercury Online service, 07:46 AM ET 12/17/96
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