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Juvenile Violence: What You Should Know About Bullying

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine


Juvenile Violence: What You Should Know About Bullying

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
School-age bullies can inflict feelings of fear, humiliation, helplessness, and anger in their victims. In decades past, childhood bullying was viewed as just a " part of growing up," and not much was done about it. But today it is known that bullying is often the first step toward more serious types of violence, and experts say that it should not be tolerated. Studies have shown that by adulthood, childhood bullies are more likely to have criminal records and job and relationship problems. Victims become isolated from their peers and experience depression and damage to their self-esteem, all of which is often carried into adulthood.

Bullying occurs when one child asserts their power over another using aggression. The aggression can be physical, verbal, or involve exclusionary tactics, such as getting peers to ostracize the victim. Victims are usually chosen either because they are timid, quiet, and don't retaliate, or because they are oppositional or brash and thrive on negative attention, thereby standing out as targets.

Since your child may not come to you for help, you need to know what signs to look for. They can include:

* Reluctance to go to school

* Unusual fear or anxiety related to school

* Physical complaints, especially on school days

* Missing or damaged belongings or the need for extra money for supplies

* Torn clothes, bruises, or disheveled appearance

* Nightmares or sleep problems

* Frequently coming home hungry, which could indicate that a bully is taking a child's lunch or lunch money.

To create opportunities where your child will feel safe talking to you about bullying, try the following:

* Be a good listener. Create an atmosphere where your child can easily talk while you actively listen. This means being careful not to jump in uninvited with advice or lectures.

* Ask questions, but don't grill them. Ask about their day - specifically the bus ride, lunch time, recess, etc. Ask if they ever see other kids getting picked on, and who the "class bully" is.

* Don't overreact if you find out your child is being bullied. Your child is already fearful and overwhelmed. Stay calm and take time to decide what to do. Meanwhile, reassure your child that you will work with them on solving the problem.

* Talk to school officials. Ask what their bullying or harassment policy is, and insist that they follow those procedures - and more if those don't go far enough.

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