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Child Bullying and Prevention

September 13, 2012
Female child holds anti-bullying sign.

With the school year started again, child bullying has become an increasing concern among most parents and education leaders. Bullying is a well-known act among children of all ages, and can happen at any grade with both genders. There are differences in how each gender and age groups bully one another, however, the results are always damaging. Below are signs that your child may be bullied or are bullying others, and ways to prevent bullying and educate your children about the consequences.

Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involve a real or perceived power imbalance, and usually persists over time. Children who bully commonly have an above average self-esteem, lack of empathy, and look upon acts of violence with a positive attitude. Girls are more likely to bully during the middle school grades, and use psychological techniques such as spreading rumors and lies, name calling and verbal abuse, and purposely excluding other girls from social groups.  Boys tend to bully mostly in elementary and middle school, and are typically more physically aggressive.

Physical signs that your child may be a victim of bullying include losing belongings, damage to clothes or property, arriving to school later than usual or just in time for the starting bell, and a drop in peer relations and friends. Less obvious signs include an unexpected depressed mood, a more anxious personality, drop in self-esteem, unusual poor academic performance, and increased isolated behavior.

Bullying prevention has recently become a significant agenda in schools and homes. More educational institutions are beginning to implement bullying education programs and zero-tolerance policies. Parents are encouraged to educate children about the consequences of bullying others and to speak up to an adult if they are being bullied or see bullying in action.  With students, teachers, and parents working together to report bullying and taking proper actions, child bullying can be stopped and prevented. 

For more information about the types of bullying and bullying prevention, visit StopBullying.gov.