Clinical Perspective

Attachment, parenting styles and bullying during pubertal years

  • Ronél van der Watt


Research that focuses on combining attachment, parenting styles, bullying and the reciprocal nature thereof in the parent–adolescent and peer relationships is limited. The bio-psychosocial changes that adolescents experience open up broader social realities and are perceived differently by parents and adolescents. Attachment processes and parenting styles may elicit dissimilar perceptions. These processes are also associated with the multifaceted dynamics of bullying. The aim of the article is to advocate for research on the possible link between the implications of attachment, parenting styles and bullying. Exploring the association between attachment, parenting styles and bullying can deepen the understanding of the developmental challenges within the parent–adolescent relationship, add insight to the different perceptions of adolescents and parents, and complement intervention programmes accordingly. Firstly, this article outlines bio-psychosocial changes in the pubertal years as related to the social realities of the adolescent. Secondly, a discussion on the concepts ‘attachment’, ‘parenting styles’, ‘bullying’, and the potential link between these concepts will follow. Thirdly, an outline of the clinical implications of the apparent association between these concepts is given. The article concludes with recommendations that researchers can consider while exploring the relationship between attachment, parenting styles, and bullying and the delineation thereof in the parent–adolescent relationship.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2014, 26(3): 251–261

Author Biography

Ronél van der Watt
Department of Psychology, University of the Free State, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein, 9300 South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1728-0591
print ISSN: 1728-0583