Did the Ugly Duckling Have PTSD?

Bullying, Its Effects, and the Role of Pediatricians

Published in: Pediatrics, v. 131, no.1, Jan. 2013, p. e288-e291

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2013

by Mark A. Schuster, Laura M. Bogart

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The American Academy of Pediatrics and other major professional organizations have issued policy statements recognizing bullying as a serious medical and public health issue that pediatricians and other clinicians should address jointly with parents, educators, and community organizations. We generally think of adults as part of the solution. They can teach children not to bully and help bullies identify and manage the challenges that may lead them to bully. They can teach children what to do when they witness bullying. And they can comfort children who are bullied and help them figure out how best to respond. However, adults can also be part of the problem, sometimes serving as negative role models, ignoring the issue of bullying, failing to notice its signs, or actually bullying children themselves. Clinicians have a role to play not only in monitoring their own actions when counseling children with stigmatized characteristics, but also in helping other adults, especially parents, to recognize and address their own aggressive and bullying behaviors. Perhaps most importantly, there is a need for research on how clinicians, parents, educators, and other advocates for youth can best tackle the issue. Interventions are also needed to help clinicians recognize signs of bullying and take steps to help children who are targets or witnesses address bullying.

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