Bullying is a serious societal issue that can have long-lasting effects on both the victim and the bully. Recognizing and knowing how to address bullying is the first step to prevention. Here are some of the specifics about what bullying entails, and what makes it different from typical childhood “growing pains”:

Bullying is any kind of physical or verbal abuse that:

  • happens more than once
  • involves an imbalance of power (the victim is unable to, or afraid to, defend him/herself)
  • is done on purpose, with an intent to cause harm

It can take many different forms, including:

  • physical attacks (for example, shoving into lockers, punching or kicking)
  • verbal attacks (calling names, making cruel remarks about someone, teasing, making threats)
  • social attacks (spreading rumors, sabotaging friendships or deliberately excluding others)
  • online attacks, or cyberbullying (texting, emailing or posting on social media anything that is cruel, untrue or otherwise harmful about a person)

Our Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (BCHNP) has clinicians in seven schools across Boston tackling bullying directly where it is most likely to occur. BCHNP provides a range of services including on-site consultations to teachers and administrators, crisis interventions, individual counseling and evidence-based violence prevention groups to help promote peaceful school environments.

BACPAC (Bullying And Cyberbullying Prevention & Advocacy Collaborative) is a groundbreaking collaborative that operates a clinic for children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental disorders (including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders) who are being bullied, or are involved in bullying others.