What parents need to know about bullying

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 20 percent of kids experience bullying before the age of 18.

It actually turns out to be a little more than one in five.

Dr. Jeremy Dalton is a pediatrician at Covenant Health.

He tells parents this is a new generation, and today, it is not a good idea to wait it out or try to monitor the situation.

His advice, "Step in immediately and be consistent. I think its important to do both of those things. Don't just sit back and watch because often times, it's not going to get better."

We all think we know what a bully is. After all, it's portrayed all the time in movies and TV. But Dr. Dalton says it's worth understanding the exact definition. He says bullying is "any unwanted, aggressive behavior in school aged children where they is a real or perceived power imbalance."

He believes, as does the American Academy of Pediatrics,  that it is important for parents to approach people to discuss if their child is bullied, perhaps going first with questions to the child's teacher or administrator.   He says it is just as important to teach kids to stand up to others.  It's a hard concept for some families, but he says, kids can really take a stand in bully prevention by sticking up for those who are not included and inviting them to participate in their activities and friend circles.  He says that can build self-esteem on both sides of the bullying.

Dr. Dalton says he also feels sorry for the bully and he hopes that parents will take just as much an interest in learning if their child is the bully.

Often, he explains, the bully is hiding some underlying problem that should be addressed.

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.

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