Magazine article The Nation's Health

Helping Your Child Deal with Bullying

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Helping Your Child Deal with Bullying

Article excerpt

Your child comes home from school with unexplained scratches and is acting withdrawn. Your protective instincts immediately kick in. Could that kid on the school bus be at it again, you wonder? Although it's hard, you need to be a wise parent and consider your next steps carefully.

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Studies show that between 15 percent and 25 percent of U.S. students are bullied with some frequency, with verbal bullying the most frequent form reported by both boys and girls.

"Bullying peaks right around the time of middle school," says Capt. Stephanie Bryn, MPH, director of injury and violence prevention at the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, who oversees the Stop Bullying Now campaign. "There are still people who don't take it as seriously as we think they should, and as a result, children are getting bullied everyday."

Bullying can be physical, involving hitting or punching, or verbal, taking the form of teasing, name calling, intimidation or social exclusion. Either way, it's important that adults recognize the signs because many children, especially boys, are reluctant to talk about it.

Signs that a child is being bullied include unexplained bruises, scratches, loss of appetite, headaches, stomachaches and sleeplessness. Self-esteem can plummet and the child can become depressed, lonely, anxious or afraid to go to school.

It takes courage for kids to tell parents they're being bullied. Children are reluctant to talk about it because they're ashamed, or even worse, afraid of the kid who is bullying them. …

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