No parent wants to learn that their child is being bullied, or find out that their child may be taking part in bullying behavior. Regardless, bullying is a form of violence that should be taken seriously. Bullying is defined as a pattern of behavior aimed at humiliating, hurting, or dominating another person. Unfortunately, it is a common for school-aged children to experience bullying at some point. A recent, nation-wide study completed by the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics indicated that about 21% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying.
Bullying can include:
- Talking about hurting someone
- Spreading rumors
- Leaving kids out on purpose
- Attacking someone by hitting them or yelling at them
Remember, bullying does not always happen face to face. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. It can include someone posting negative or untrue things about a person on social media websites, sharing embarrassing pictures or videos, or creating fake profiles.
"Bullying can cause a wide range of issues to both the child who bullies and the child who is being bullied. These include low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide," says Melanie Fossinger, NP. "Bystanders may also experience negative health consequences as a result of witnessing the violence." At BMC, our pediatricians integrate conversations with their patients about bullying into their annual visits, such as asking about bullying and educating parents and children about the warning signs that a child is being bullied.
Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. Talk to your children early and often about bullying, and any issues they may be experiencing. Know who to contact at your child’s school if a situation does arise.
For more information, contact your child’s primary care provider, and visit www.stopbullying.gov for more resources.