Bullying: Help your child handle a bully
Childhood bullying can have lifelong consequences. Listen to your child's concerns. Then help your child 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. To help your child handle bullying, learn to recognize it — and understand how to respond.
Types of bullying
Bullying is a form of aggression, in which one or more children repeatedly and intentionally intimidate, harass or harm a victim who is perceived as unable to defend him- or herself. Bullying can take many forms. For example:
- Physical. This type of bullying includes hitting, tripping and kicking, as well as destruction of a child's property.
- Verbal. Verbal bullying includes teasing, name-calling, taunting and making inappropriate sexual comments.
- Psychological or social. This type of bullying involves spreading rumors about a child, embarrassing him or her in public, or excluding him or her from a group.
- Electronic. Cyberbullying involves using an electronic medium, such as email, websites, a social media platform, text messages, or videos posted on websites or sent through phones, to threaten or harm others.
The consequences of bullying
Being bullied as a child has been linked to:
Aug. 26, 2016
- Mental health problems. Children who are bullied are at increased risk of depression, anxiety, sleep problems, low self-esteem, and thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
- Impaired academic performance. Children who are bullied might be afraid to go to school and are more likely to get poor grades. Targets of bullying are also more likely to receive school detention or suspension, miss, skip or drop out of school.
- Substance abuse. Children who are bullied are more likely to use alcohol and other drugs.
- Violence. A very small number of children who are bullied might retaliate with violent measures.
See more In-depth
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- Kliegman RM, et al. Impact of violence on children. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- Rice E, et al. Cyberbullying perpetration and victimization among middle-school students. American Journal of Public Health. 2015;105:e66.
- Hinduja S, et al. Cyberbullying: Identification, prevention and response. Cyberbullying Research Center. http://cyberbullying.org/cyberbullying-fact-sheet-identification-prevention-and-response. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- Who is at risk? Stopbullying.gov. http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/index.html. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- Respond to bullying. Stopbullying.gov. http://www.stopbullying.gov/respond/find-out-what-happened/index.html. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- What you can do. Stopbullying.gov. http://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do/index.html. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- Hinduja S, et al. Technology use contract. Cyberbullying Research Center. http://cyberbullying.org/technology-use-contract. Accessed July 25, 2016.
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- Electronic media and youth violence: A CDC issue brief for educators and caregivers. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ea-brief-a.pdf. Accessed July 25, 2016.
- Edgerton E, et al. Identifying new strategies to assess and promote online health communication and social media outreach: An application in bullying prevention. Health Promotion Practice. 2016;17:448.
- Swintak CC (expert opinion). Rochester, Minn. Aug. 15, 2016.