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Bullying

n their article, Bullying Among Children and Youth, Susan P. Limber and Maury M. Nation, state that "Recent research has documented that bullying is a common and potentially damaging form of violence among children. Not only does bullying harm both its intended victims and the perpetrators, it also may affect the climate of schools and, indirectly, the ability of all students to learn to the best of their abilities. The link between bullying and later delinquent and criminal behavior cannot be ignored."
Bullying deserves special attention for two significant reasons. First, the prevalence of bullying and the harm that it causes are seriously underestimated by many children and adults.  Second, the nature of bullying does not necessarily lend itself to the same interventions that may effectively reduce other types of conflict among children because it involves harassment by powerful children against children with less power (rather than a conflict between peers of relatively equal status).
Bullying among children is understood as repeated, negative acts committed by one or more children against another. These negative acts may be physical or verbal in nature -- for example, hitting or kicking, teasing or taunting -- or they may involve indirect actions such as manipulating friendships or purposely excluding other children from activities. Implicit in this definition is an imbalance in real or perceived power between the bully and victim.
Studies of bullying suggest that there are short- and long-term consequences for both the perpetrators and victims of bullying. Research by

Williams and others found that students who are chronic victims of bullying experience more physical and psychological problems than their peers who are not harassed by other children and they tend not to grow out of the role of victim. A study by Olweus found that victims of bullying in early grades also reported being bullied several years later. Studies also suggest that chronically victimized students may as adults be at increased risk for depression, poor self-esteem, and other mental health problems, including schizophrenia.
It is not only victims who are at risk for short- and long-term problems; bullies also are at increased risk for negative outcomes. One researcher found that those elementary students who were bullies attended school less frequently and were more likely to drop out than other students. Several studies suggest that bullying in early childhood may be a critical risk factor for the development of future problems with violence and delinquency. For example, Olweus' research found that in addition to threatening other children, bullies were several times more likely than their nonbullying peers to commit antisocial acts, including vandalism, fighting, theft, drunkenness, and truancy, and to have an arrest by young adulthood. Another study of more than 500 children found that aggressive behavior at the age of 8 was a powerful predictor of criminality and violent behavior at the age of 30.

Excerpted from Combating Fear and Restoring Safety in Schools, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, April 1998.  Read the entire article at    http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/jjbulletin/9804/bullying2.html

Bullying may be physical or verbal in nature or may involve indirect actions such as manipulating friendships or purposely excluding other children from activities.

Online Resources about Bullying

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) offers its series, Facts for Families.  Bullying (#80), and other information about issues for helping children and adolescents, can be found at http://www.aacap.org/publications/factsfam/index.htm

"Bullying" -- How to Stop It! is available from the Nebraska Cooperative Extension and includes tips on how to bully-proof your child, defensive strategies and information about why a child becomes a bully.  More information is available at http://ianrpubs.unl.edu/family/nf309.htm