The Effects of Bullying: What Parents Need to Know

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Hi welcome to Children's Mom Docs. My name is Dr. Sarah Garwood I'm a

pediatrician in adolescent medicine at St. Louis Children's Hospital and today

we're going to talk about bullying. Bullying is a pretty popular topic with

parents and unfortunately it happens all too commonly to kids.

Bullying can even start in preschool around age three to four, tends to

increase during the elementary school years, peak in middle school and then

decrease in frequency in high school.

How do you know if your child is being bullied and what can you do about it?

Some of the signs that your child might be being bullied at school would be

sudden changes in their behavior they may see more sad or withdrawn or angry

they may have damaged or lost to physical things like their books or they

may be missing lunch money things like that. Often young children can’t express

their emotions through words and so they express them through physical symptoms.

So young kids might complain of frequent headaches or frequent stomachaches. They

might be accused of faking an illness when in reality those are stress

symptoms coming out in physical signs. They may have other symptoms that

they're upset such as change in their sleeping habits, difficulty eating

regularly, a loss of friends, or sudden changes in their friendship patterns. For

older kids cyberbullying can become a problem. Older teens who are involved in

cyberbullying may show changes in their online usage. They may be upset or

depressed after being online. They might ask you for accounts where they may

suddenly be closing accounts or opening new accounts online. As pediatricians and

parents, we have paid much more attention to what's happening to our kids and when

they're bullied. And part of the reason for this is that medical literature has

demonstrated that not only does bullying have effects on kids mental health in

the present time but has long-lasting effects even in adulthood. Adults who

have a history of being bullied as children have higher rates of anxiety

and depression. In some studies, rates that are even as high as or

higher than

kids who have been abused. So how do you help your child if you suspect that they're

being bullied or if they have confided in you that they're struggling at school?

First of all, it's important just to talk to your kids every day about how schools

been going for them. Try to get them to open up about what experiences they've

had. Ask them about good things and bad things that have happened that day. Ask

them about who they sat with at lunch.

What did they do it recess? Whether there's anything that they want to talk

about that may not have gone well for them. Help them identify who are their

allies or trusted adults at school. Who can go and talk to when things get

really bad? It's also important as a parent to model of appropriate behavior

and model how to be kind and sympathetic and supportive to other people. Sometimes

your child may not be the one who's being bullied, but they might be the

bystander that could actually intervene and help stick up for a child is

experiencing bullying. If your child admits that they are confronting bullies

one of the best pieces of advice you can give them is for them to remain calm.

Try to avoid letting the bully see them cry and to calmly walk away. When it

comes to bullying know the signs to look out for and most important be ready to

talk and be ready to listen when your child comes to you and they're ready to

let you know. Thanks for tuning in

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