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Bullying, questions and answers

 

 

 

Bullying http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/uf6001.asp?navbar=uf4871

Bullying occurs when a child or children repeatedly harass, intimidate, hit, or shun another child who is weaker physically or has less social standing. Bullying often involves verbal or physical aggression and may include hitting, shoving, or taking money or belongings.

Repetition is necessary for bullying. An isolated fight between two children of similar size and social power is not bullying; neither is occasional teasing.

Bullying can be stopped through the coordinated efforts of parents, teachers, school counselors, and sometimes psychologists or psychiatrists. Many schools have zero-tolerance policies regarding bullying and teach children that such aggression will not be tolerated.

Characteristics of Children Who Bully  http://my.webmd.com/hw/raising_a_family/uf4874.asp

Children who bully:1, 3

Children do not bully because they are insecure and lack self-esteem. On the contrary, they think highly of themselves. They like being looked up to and tend to make friends easily. They often expect everyone to behave according to their wishes.

Some children both bully others and are bullied. These children, sometimes called "provocative victims," can be anxious and aggressive. They may have been bullied and then lash out at others. They may tease bullies, bringing on more aggression against themselves.

Bullying should be a "red flag" for parents, alerting them that their child has not learned to control aggression. The child and the family will need professional help.

Bullying children are at risk of committing criminal acts later in life.

How Children Can Discourage Bullying http://my.webmd.com/hw/raising_a_family/uf4901.asp

Children can take steps to deter bullying. They can:

What Children Should Do if They Are Bullied http://my.webmd.com/hw/raising_a_family/uf4876.asp

It's normal for children to be frightened or angry when other children harass them. But they can discourage attacks by showing confidence and not overreacting to bullying.

Children should not fight with a bullying child or make verbal insults. This could lead to more aggression and possibly serious injury.

"Walk, talk, squawk"

Experts recommend a catchy expression to help children remember how to handle bullying: "Walk, talk, squawk."3

Children may worry about making other kids angry by telling on them, but exposing the abuse is the only way to stop the problem.


What parents can do to help their bullying child http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/uf4902.asp?navbar=uf4871

No parent wants to think that his or her child harasses and hurts other children. It's painful and disheartening. However, parents can use the following suggestions to help turn around their child's behavior.

Children who show aggression need supervision and rules, but parents should not punish them physically, such as with corporal punishment.5 Physical punishment only reinforces the belief that people can get what they want through aggression. http://my.webmd.com/hw/raising_a_family/uf4877.asp

Peer mediation often does not work because bullying involves children who have different levels of physical power and social status. Adults almost always need to intervene.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends that parents of children who bully seek help from their child's teacher, principal, school counselor, and pediatrician or family doctor. These professionals can help evaluate your child's behavior and make a referral to a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a psychologist, or a licensed counselor who can work with your child.

The Role of Schools in Bullying http://my.webmd.com/hw/raising_a_family/uf4883.asp

Schools play a critical role in stopping bullying because most aggression happens on school grounds during recess, in lunch rooms, or in bathrooms. Schools should develop zero-tolerance programs that make it clear bullying won't be tolerated.

Bullying has been well studied in Norway, where school-based programs have reduced the incidence of bullying by 30% to 50%. Schools that are successful:1

Resources

http://www.bullyingawarenessnetwork.ca/

http://www.cfchildren.org/bully.html

http://www.nobullies.org/

 

Violent Behavior

Topic Overview http://my.webmd.com/hw/mental_health/hw271283.asp

Anger and arguments are normal parts of healthy relationships. However, anger that leads to threats or violence, such as hitting or hurting, is not normal or healthy. Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse is not an acceptable part of any relationship. Verbal threats erode the spirit and are very damaging in the long term.

Violent behavior often begins with verbal threats or relatively minor incidents, but over time it can escalate to involve physical harm.

Domestic violence (intimate partner violence) is a common form of violent behavior. It is a major problem in the United States. Each year an estimated 1.5 million women are physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner. Approximately 25% of women in the United States will experience partner violence at some time during their lives.

Violence is learned behavior, so it is especially important to help your children learn that violence is not a healthy way to resolve conflict. Living in a violent environment increases your child's chances of developing behavior problems, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, poor school achievement, and lowered expectations for the future.

Watching television and playing video games also increase your child's risk of exposure to violence. By the age of 18, it is estimated that the average child in the United States has witnessed more than 200,000 acts of violence on television alone. The media in the U.S. frequently portrays the use of violence as a justified means of resolving conflict. Children are easily influenced by media exposure. They learn by observing, imitating, and incorporating behavior. Video games are an especially good environment for children to learn and incorporate violence. After exposure to media violence, children exhibit more aggressive behavior. This aggressive behavior persists for many years.

Violence is a greater health risk to children, teenagers, and young adults than infectious disease, cancer, or congenital disorders. Homicide, suicide, and violent injury are the leading causes of death in children. Violence related to guns is the leading cause of death of children and teenagers in the U.S. Approximately 3,500 teenagers are murdered every year and another 150,000 are arrested for violent crimes.

Review the Emergencies and Check Your Symptoms sections to determine if and when you need to see a health professional.

Violent Behavior Prevention http://my.webmd.com/hw/mental_health/hw271308.asp

To prevent violence:


Assessing the risk for teen violence http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/tv6556.asp?navbar=hw271283

Violence is a greater health risk to children, teenagers, and young adults than infectious disease, cancer, or congenital disorders. Homicide, suicide, and violent injury are the leading causes of death in children. Violence related to firearms is the leading cause of death of children and teenagers in the United States. Approximately 3,500 teenagers are murdered every year and another 150,000 are arrested for violent crimes.1, 2

There is no single explanation for the overall rise in youth violence. Many different factors cause violent behavior. The more these factors are present in a child's life, the more likely he or she is to commit an act of violence.

Warning signs

People usually give hints that they are considering violence toward other people. Signs that may indicate that a teen is thinking of harming others include:

The possibility of teen violence also increases when the following signs are present over several weeks or months:

What you can do

When you recognize violence warning signs in someone else, there are steps you can take. Don't count on someone else to deal with the situation. Taking action and telling someone who can help can prevent harm to yourself and others. It also will protect another teen with potentially violent behavior from making a mistake that will affect the rest of his or her life.

Managing your own anger

You can manage your own anger without becoming violent.

What you can do as a parent

You can help protect your teen from violent situations in the following ways:

Factors that may contribute to teen violence http://my.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/tv6557.asp?navbar=hw271283

Teen violence is a complicated problem. No one factor has been shown to cause violence in teens. Known risks for violent behavior include:

Other factors that are thought to contribute to teen violence include: