Tyler is not looking forward to returning to school. Last year, he was bullied. His parents are noticing a growing anxiety as the school year approaches and want to help prepare Tyler for the coming year.

According to a study conducted at the University of Texas at Arlington and published in the Journal of Criminology (September, 2013), students at anti-bullying initiative schools are more likely to be bullied. The reason according to bullying expert Start Twemlow, whenever you target a group of specific people, things get worse. These programs may actually be giving bullies ideas on how to bully better. Not exactly the intended impact when it comes to prevention!

Zero tolerance policies are not working either. In fact, the NEA gives these policies a big F for effectiveness as well. And a new study came out which tells us that bullying is worse than child abuse for kids.

In the longitudinal study of over 5000 English and American children, results indicated that being bullied by peers puts you at risk for mental health problems as adults. Those problems include depression, anxiety, suicide or self-harm. The risk was higher for kids bullied, than for children who were maltreated by adults.

Child maltreatment was defined as physical, emotional maltreatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment resulting in potential or actual harm to a child. When you combine the mistreatment of a child by an adult with bullying by a peer, the combination also leads to adult mental health problems.

The American children who were bullied but not abused were five times more likely to suffer anxiety. The English children in that same category suffered more depression and self-harm as adults.

So while we need to keep preventing child abuse, ways to eliminate bullying need to remain front and center on the minds of educators and parents.

To learn the most effective strategies with a bully, listen to this week’s show– effective strategies to prepare your kids for a school bully.

Do you have any strategies on how to deal with a bullying situation? Let us know on social media!

Bullying: worse than child abuse