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          Signs to Watch for and How to Stop It Dead in Its Tracks By Kimberly Blaker
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately one in five kids ages 12 to 18 has experienced being bullied in a given year. Such bullying ranges from name-calling and spreading rumors to the destruction of property, threats, and violence.
Studies have found bullying has health and psychological repercussions – and the effects can last into adulthood. The victims of childhood bullying, as well as bully-victims (those who
are both bullied and bully others), are “at increased risk of poor health, wealth, and social- relationship outcomes in adulthood,” according to a report in Psychological Science journal. Pure bullies (those who bully but are not victims) weren’t found to be at increased risk.
 Bullying versus conflict
For parents and educators to effectively address bullying, we must first understand what constitutes bullying. When we see it, we often don’t recognize it because, from the outside, it looks like a conflict. In fact, it usually is nothing more than conflict. In the heat of the moment, kids, like adults, can say and do mean things to each other. That, in and of itself, doesn’t constitute bullying. Because parents and teachers are aware of this, it’s sometimes easy to dismiss a child’s complaints about being harassed as nothing more than a spat.
So, here are some questions to help determine which it is:
• Do both children have equal power? If so, it’s conflict. In bullying, the bully has more power or more perceived power.
• Are both children able to express their concerns or views? Or is one child passive or unable to express her side for some reason?
• Does the behavior stop when the antagonizing child recognizes he’s hurting another? Or does the aggressor continue, while being fully aware of the effects of his behavior?
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