By Diane Griffith, Staff Writer, myOptumHealth
You would climb any mountain to keep your child from being hurt by a bully. But how would you feel if the child you love was the one doing the bullying? Many parents would be angry, others indifferent and a few, unfortunately, even proud. What they might not feel is worried. Research shows, though, that both the bully and his victim can be harmed by his behavior.
How bullying affects the bully
Bullies are more likely than others to:
Types of bullying
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than five million students are bullied each year. Bullying can be physical or verbal, and may include the use of electronic communication, such as sending text messages to threaten another person.
Indirect bullying involves intentionally excluding someone from a group or preventing that person from making friends. This type of bullying is much more common in girls than boys. It's more subtle, but just as harmful. This, too, often includes use of the Internet or text messaging to humiliate the victim or turn classmates against her.
Who does it - and why?
In one survey, kids said the main reason they bully is because they think it will make them more popular. Other reasons are that they:
Many children don't actively engage in bullying, but stand by while other kids are bullied and say nothing. They might also join in the taunting, thinking it's OK because they didn't start it.
When a child is attacked repeatedly, he is gradually seen by others as worthless and "deserving it." This makes bystanders feel less guilty about joining in or not intervening. If your child is involved in passive bullying, let her know that if she doesn't help the victim or joins in, she is as wrong as the bully who started it.
Helping your child change
If you find out your child is bullying other children, intervene as soon as possible. Otherwise, your child may continue with antisocial behavior that will last a lifetime.
Working with your child's school
Bullying takes place more often in school than any other location. Meet with your child's teacher, guidance counselor or principal. Many schools have anti-bullying programs and staff who are trained to help not just the victim, but also the bully.
These Web sites are for your informational use only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified health care provider. Also consult your healthcare provider before starting any medications or supplements or beginning or modifying any exercise program.
© 2012 OptumHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of information on this page may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of OptumHealth, Inc.