The Role of Emotional Regulation in Addressing Bullying and Victimization

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This essay focuses specifically on the role that emotional regulation plays in managing maladaptive reactions by children towards their peers and others. In the ‘Anti-bullying Plan for Schools’, produced by the NSW Department of Education and Training (NSW DET, 2007), bullying is defined as, “intentional, repeated behaviour by an individual or group of individuals that causes distress, hurt or undue pressure” (p. 6). The victims of bullying are the recipients of this repeated behaviour. In a report on ‘Emotions in Social Information Processing and Their Relations with Reactive and Proactive Aggression in Referred Aggressive Boys’, Orobio de Castro, Merk, Koops, Veerman and Bosch (2005) define emotion regulation as, “…attempts to control,…show more content…
If children continue to live in a hostile or violent environment, the maladaptive behaviour they are presenting may be, as Shields and Cicchetti (2001) argue, regarded as a survival mechanism. This pattern will be hard to break, and more adaptive behaviour will be hard to justify in the minds of children, if they continue to live with a constant threat. If no external parental or communal maltreatment is identified, then children need to learn to develop skills and find more adaptive ways of dealing with problems that arise in interactions with others. Without resolving any existing external contributing factors to the development of the child’s maladaptive emotional regulation, efforts to implement more adaptive strategies may be in vain as they will not make sense in the reality that the child lives with everyday.

A lack of parental or caregiver information on how to effectively inform, advise and support their child may contribute to the child’s development of ineffective problem-solving strategies. When bullying occurs, often parents or caregivers of both the bullying and victimized children, have little information on how to effectively deal with the situation and advise their children of more appropriate responses to the problems they are facing. In addition, open communication between parents or caregivers and their children may not always be at an optimal
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