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21 June 2011

Bullying is not normal childhood behaviour

Many shrug off bullying as just a part of growing up, but experts warn that it should be treated as a serious issue and not accepted as normal childhood behaviour.

Because millions of kids are affected by bullying, some people may shrug it off as just a part of growing up. But experts warn that it should be treated as a serious issue and not accepted as normal childhood behaviour.

Because bullies thrive on intimidation and control, they often target those who are timid, passive and have fewer friends. They also choose victims who are younger, smaller and are less able to defend themselves. These victims may experience a number of adverse effects, including anxiety, fear and the inability to focus on schoolwork. Over time, Strayhorn noted, a bullied child's sense of self-esteem and self-worth can suffer, resulting in withdrawal, depression and insecurity.

Bullying versus teasing

  • Physical violence
  • Coercion
  • Name-calling
  • Social ostracism
  • Social isolation
  • Verbal or written threats
  • Murder or sexual assaults, which have occurred in extreme cases of bullying

  • Reassure bullying victims that they are not alone or at fault. Tell them that no one deserves to be bullied for any reason.
  • If the bullying is occurring at school, meet with the appropriate school official and demand intervention to diffuse the situation.
  • If the bullying is occurring outside of the school, tell children to seek safety in numbers and remain with friends or adults in the environment where bullying takes place.
  • If the bullying has taken place over a length of time, consult a child or adolescent mental health professional to help your child develop coping strategies to deal with the situation.
  • In extreme cases, contact the appropriate legal authorities.

 
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