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With Bullying, What's a Parent to Do?
Date:11/26/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- When kids have academic problems, report cards make that clear to parents. And if a kid skins a knee or breaks a bone, parents know what to do.

But detecting that a child is being bullied, and then knowing how to react, may not be so clear-cut.

Kids often are reluctant to tell their parents they're being bullied, making it difficult to know that they're having trouble with other kids at school or online.

One thing that's very clear, however, is that bullying is not a rare occurrence. About one in five kids reports being bullied at school in the past 12 months, and another 16 percent have been harassed online, according to a survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also found that 6 percent of children and teens didn't go to school at least once in the previous month because they were concerned for their safety.

Bullying "eats away at a young person's self-esteem," said Dan Rauzi, a national bullying expert and senior director of technology programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "It can cause them to not want to go to school or get on the bus, they may not want to go online and it affects learning in school."

Bullying also interferes with a child's social, emotional and academic development, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Sometimes the harassment is so severe that bullying victims commit suicide, the academy reports.

So, what signs should a parent be watching for?

A child who's being bullied may be more anxious and fearful, perhaps wanting to avoid school and social settings, according to Victor Gardner, a child and adolescent psychologist with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

Children may complain of headaches, stomachaches and nausea, he said. Or, they may develop low self-esteem and lack confidence. Grades may drop,
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