Diseases & Conditions
Bullying is an all-too-common experience for many children and adolescents, affecting as many as half of all children at some time during their school years. At least 10 percent of all children are bullied on a regular basis.
Bullying behavior can be physical or verbal, and can occur anywhere—at home, at school, on the playground, and even in online chat rooms and through e-mail.
Victims of this torment experience real suffering that can interfere with social and emotional development, as well as school performance. Some victims of bullying have even attempted suicide rather than continue to endure such harassment and punishment.
A bully thrives on controlling or dominating others and often has been the victim of physical abuse or bullying himself. Bullies also may be depressed, angry, or upset about events at school or at home.
Children who are bullied also tend to ﬁt a particular proﬁle of being passive, easily intimidated, and having few friends. Victims may be smaller or younger than the bully.
Parents who suspect their child is bullying others should seek help as soon as possible. Without intervention, bullying can lead to serious academic, social, emotional, and legal problems. A comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional can help parents and child understand what is causing the bullying, and how to stop the destructive behavior.
Parents who think their child may be the victim of a bully should provide opportunities to talk in an open and honest way. It is also important to respond in a positive and accepting manner. Parents should ask the child what should be done and seek help from the child’s teacher or school guidance counselor. Most bullying occurs on playgrounds, in lunchrooms, in bathrooms, on school buses, or in unsupervised halls. Parents can explore ways to stop bullying, such as peer mediation, conﬂict resolution, anger management training, and increased adult supervision.