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Bullying: Help your child handle a school bully
Childhood bullying can have lifelong consequences. Listen to your child's concerns. Then help your child create a plan to stop bullying in its tracks.By Mayo Clinic staff
Bullying was once considered a childhood rite of passage. Today, however, bullying is recognized as a serious problem. Up to half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. And thanks to tech-savvy kids, cyberbullying and other forms of electronic harassment are now commonplace.
To help your child handle school bullying, learn to recognize it — and know how to respond.
Types of bullying
Any child can be bullied, particularly younger children and those who have few friends or are easily intimidated. At any age, bullying can take many forms. For example:
- Physical bullying includes hitting, punching, kicking and other types of physical harm, as well as destruction of a child's property.
- Verbal bullying includes teasing, name-calling, taunting and racial slurs, as well as spreading gossip or malicious rumors.
- Cyberbullying includes harassing emails, instant messages and text messages, as well as intimidating or threatening websites, blogs or posts.
The consequences of bullying
Children who are bullied may be afraid to go to school. They may complain of headaches or stomachaches and have trouble concentrating on schoolwork. In the long term, the consequences of bullying may be even more severe. Children who are bullied have higher rates of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and other mental health conditions. Children who are bullied are more likely to think about suicide. Some of these wounds may linger into adulthood.Next page
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- The ABCs of bullying. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. http://pathwayscourses.samhsa.gov/bully/bully_fs_parents.htm. Accessed May 3, 2010.
- How can we help our child avoid being bullied? American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Avoiding-Bullying.aspx. Accessed May 3, 2010.
- Facts for families: Bullying. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/bullying. Accessed May 3, 2010.
- Warning signs that a child is being bullied. Health Services and Resources Administration. http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/HHS_PSA/pdfs/SBN_Tip_7.pdf. Accessed May 3, 2010.
- Bowes L, et al. Families promote emotional and behavioural resilience to bullying: Evidence of an environmental effect. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. In press. Accessed May 3, 2010.