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April 1st, 2010
02:51 PM ET

Helping a Youth Who Bullies Others

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center

When evaluating a child or adolescent who has been bullying others, it is helpful to understand the context in which the child or adolescent acted. It is also important to screen children who bully for ADHD, depression, suicidality, bipolar disorder, child maltreatment, and substance abuse disorders. Ask the child or adolescent about exposure to violence in his/her home, neighborhood, and school, and through the media.

Talk to family members whenever possible, in order to assess family functioning and any parental symptoms and distress (e.g., substance/alcohol abuse problems, mood disorders, and/or marital conflict). If parents are having difficulties, encourage them to seek outside support (e.g., from relatives, parent support groups, faith-based communities, mental health services) and make appropriate referrals.

A useful first step in addressing bullying is to provide guidance to parents or other caregivers:

  • Discuss the seriousness of bullying behavior.
  • Help parents or caregivers to develop reasonable expectations for their child or adolescent.
  • Educate them about the negative effects of physical punishment.
  • Help them to develop strategies to set limits, to monitor and closely supervise their child's behavior, and to effectively discipline their child or adolescent.
  • Encourage parents and other caregivers to communicate and collaborate with staff at their school in order to develop a consistent approach to their child's bullying behavior.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Bullying • Education
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