Everybody knows kids can be cruel, but a Canadian study of twins suggests that bullies are not just the kids who hit or push other kids but the ones who exclude other children or do sneaky little things.
After studying hundreds of twins, they have found that genes may tip the scale a little, but home life and peer influence actually account for about 80% of socially aggressive behavior. The good news is, early intervention is the key.
"At the early age when you can see children being physically aggressive. That's an additional reason why you should deal with it early and try to help children learn appropriate positive behaviors to get attention or what they need or get their wants filled so it doesn't lead to relational aggression," says Donna Bryant, Ph.D., a child development researcher
Dr. Bryant says the take home message for parents is that environment and what happens at home doe count. That whether a child picks up aggressive behavior like rumor spreading or hateful talk usually reflects that the child was exposed to that...somewhere.
The study is published in the journal Child Development.