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WHY DO CHILDREN BULLY?

Yes, another school year has begun!  Will we see bullying occurring again this year?  Bullying is a concern and we need to be aware of it!  What are reasons, effects and warning signs?

There are all kinds of reasons why young children bully others, either occasionally or often. Do any of these reasons sound familiar to you?

  • Because I see others doing it
  • Because it is what you do
  • Because it makes me feel, stronger, smarter, or better than the other child I am bullying
  • Because it is one of the best ways to keep others from bullying me

Whatever the reason, bullying is something we all need to think about.  Whether we have done it ourselves … or whether friends or other people we know are doing it.  We all need to recognize that bullying has a terrible effect on the lives of young children.

Effects of Bullying:

  • It happens a lot.  Studies show that between 15-25% of U.S. children are bullied with some frequency, while 15-20% report they bully others with some frequency (Melton, 1988; Nansel, 2001).
  • It can mess up a child’s future. Young children who bully are more likely than those who don’t bully are absent often from school and use excuses (Nansel, 2003, Olweus, 1993).
  • It scares some children who are bullied to stay out of school.   As many as 160, 000 children may stay home on any given day because they are afraid of being bullied (Pollack, 1998).
  • It can lead to huge problems later in life.  Children who bully are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school later.  60% of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24 (Olweus, 1993).

Warning Signs

If you are concerned that the child is being teased or bullied, look for these signs of stress:

  • Increased passivity (inactive) or withdrawal (removing themselves from the group)
  • Frequent crying
  • Re-current complaints of physical symptoms such as stomachaches or headaches with no apparent cause
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Sudden drop in not doing well at all in school or having learning problems
  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Significant changes in social life – suddenly no one is interested in the child
  • Sudden change in the way the child talks – calling themselves names like a loser or a jerk

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