Bullying: Help your child handle a bullyChildhood 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:
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- 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. Children who are bullied might be more likely to carry weapons at school. A small number of children who are bullied might retaliate with violent measures.
See more In-depth
- Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Policy statement — Role of the pediatrician in youth violence prevention. Pediatrics. 2009;124:393.
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- What is cyberbullying? U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html. Accessed June 27, 2013.
- O'Keefe GS, et al. Clinical report-The impact of social media on children, adolescents and families. Pediatrics. 2011;127:800.
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- Bullying definition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html. Accessed June 27, 2013.
- Warning signs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs/index.html. Accessed June 27, 2013.
- Kowalski RM, et al. Cyber bullying: Bullying in the digital age. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing; 2008:89.
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- Wang J, et al. School bullying among adolescents in the United States: Physical, verbal, relational, and cyber. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2009;45:368.
- Effects of bullying. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/effects/index.html. Accessed June 27, 2013.
- Prevent cyberbullying. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/prevention/index.html. Accessed June 24, 2013.
- Report cyberbullying. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/how-to-report/index.html. Accessed June 27, 2013.