Dealing with Bullies

What you should do if you think your child is being bullied.

What Makes a Bully?

Has your child been the victim of a bully, or has there been a problem with bullies at his school? If so, you (and he) are not alone. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, nearly one-third of children and teenagers in America have said they've experienced bullying, either as a target or perpetrator.

Bullying has always been a problem in schools. But in the wake of recent, well-publicized school shootings, people are recognizing the serious consequences related to chronic bullying, says Susan M. Swearer, PhD, a licensed psychologist and assistant professor of school psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Bullying can exist in many forms: It can be physical (pushing, punching, or hitting); verbal (name-calling or threats); or psychological and emotional (spreading rumors or excluding someone from a conversation or activity). Most disturbing, it can have long-lasting effects, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, both on the victim and on the bullies themselves.

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