Signs of bullying

Child psychiatrist explains changes in children to watch for

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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When a child is being bullied it may consume them, but they may never bring it up.
That's why it's important for parents to pay attention to the signs.

Dr.Tatiana Falcone, a child psychiatrist at Cleveland Clinic Children's, says some are more subtle than others.

"If your child participates in sports and suddenly doesn't want to participate anymore. If they love to do piano or violin and suddenly they don't want to play anymore," explained Falcone.

She says you may notice your child not wanting to attend school functions, or even class birthday parties. They may also have trouble sleeping, too. 

Falcone says kids who are being bullied may be depressed or anxious. If you spot these changes in your child's behavior start asking questions she says don't be afraid to ask for help.

"And if you're trying and you're asking all of the right questions and you met with the school and still you're not getting any answers, then maybe taking your child to see somebody to see if maybe that could help, like a psychologist," said Falcone.

She says the key to putting an end to the bullying is making your child feel confident enough to come to you, or a teacher, or a coach, and expose what is happening to them.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services defines bullying as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

To find out more about bullying, who's at risk, how to respond, ways to prevent bullying and how to get help, go to

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