The Role of Emotional Regulation in Addressing Bullying and Victimization
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,
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Childhood is a crucial period for the development of individual differences in emotion regulation (Gross & Thompson, in press). Culture also plays an important role in the development of emotion regulation. For example, in some cultures expression of negative emotions may be viewed as assertive, whereas in other cultures this may be seen as inappropriate (Gross & Thompson, in press). Cultural values influence what is socially considered to be adaptive or maladaptive forms of emotion regulation.
In a paper outlining emotion regulation strategies, Gross and Thompson (in press) argue that emotion regulation processes can be divided into five inter-related families. In sequence, these families are situation selection; situation modification; attentional deployment, cognitive change; and response modulation. According to Gross and Thompson (in press), emotion regulation is a dynamic reoccurring cycle involving ongoing streams of emotional stimulation and behavioural responding. Children need effective ways to think about, understand and handle situations. Firstly, children need to be aware of the situations they put themselves in. If a problem is repetitive, like bullying, the child may be able to identify the warning signs and choose to avoid the circumstances that facilitate its occurrence. For example, children could choose to avoid a bully or avoid