Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others have serious, lasting problems. In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power, such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity-to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Effects of Bullying
Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to kids to determine whether bullying or something else is a concern. Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:
- Depression and anxiety, increased feeling of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
- Health complaints
- Decreased academic achievement-GPA and standardized test scores and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school
Is my child being bullied?
- torn clothes
- loss of appetite
- mood changes
- reluctance to go to school
- bruises or injuries that cant be explained
- no empathy for others
- a desire to be in control
- may be an arrogant and boastful winner and poor loser in competitive games
Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. They can:
- Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.
- Keep the line of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
- Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
- Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.
Parents, school staff, and other adults have a role to play in preventing bullying and how respond to bullying. More information can be found at the link below.