IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The missing voice: Parents' perspectives of bullying


  • Sawyer, Jami-Leigh
  • Mishna, Faye
  • Pepler, Debra
  • Wiener, Judith


Bullying is a complex phenomenon that is reported to be pervasive in many countries around the world (Harel-Fisch, et al., 2010; Hazler, Miller, Carney & Green, 2001; Mishna, Pepler, & Wiener, 2006). Although there is a considerable body of research on bullying, very little has been devoted to studying the perspectives of the parents of children involved. An ecological framework, whereby bullying dynamics are seen to extend beyond the children who are bullied, and include peers, teachers, the school, community, and parents (Atlas & Pepler, 1998; Mishna, Wiener, & Pepler, 2008), is essential to address the complexities involved in bullying. This study provides one of the first qualitative assessments of bullying based solely on the perceptions of parents of victimized children. In-depth interviews were conducted with parents whose children disclosed being victimized by their peers as identified by The Safe School Questionnaire (Pepler, Connolly, & Craig, 1993, adapted from Olweus, 1989). Interviews were conducted with 20 parents (2 fathers, 14 mothers, and 2 mother-father dyads). Themes that emerged included: 1) participants' definition of bullying and how they identify bullying behaviors; 2) parents' reactions to their child self-identifying as bullied; 3) parents' awareness of their child witnessing bullying incidents; 4) parents' descriptions of the effects being victimized has had on their child; 5) gender differences; 6) strategies parents suggested to respond to bullying; and 7) complexities regarding disclosure of bullying. The results of this exploratory research highlight that understanding parents' perceptions and conceptualizations is crucial to bullying research and intervention efforts, as parents' understanding of bullying undoubtedly impacts their recognition of bullying incidents and subsequent interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Sawyer, Jami-Leigh & Mishna, Faye & Pepler, Debra & Wiener, Judith, 2011. "The missing voice: Parents' perspectives of bullying," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1795-1803, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:33:y:2011:i:10:p:1795-1803

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:33:y:2011:i:10:p:1795-1803. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.