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Web site offers medical advice on bullying

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The words of playground bullies can be hurtful, sometimes to the point of physical pain.

In addition to feeling scared, worried and embarrassed, the stress of coping with bullies can lead to stomach or other health problems, says Dr. Neil Izenberg, a pediatrician and editor in chief of KidsHealth, an online resource for medical information.

And the victims aren't the only ones suffering.

Sometimes children become bullies because they are dealing with a difficult situation at home, such as a divorce, says Izenberg. And, he adds, many bullies pick on children they're jealous of.

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KidsHealth, a project of The Nemours Foundation, a charitable organization devoted to improving the health of children, offers the following tips for children who are being bullied:

Put safety first. Any child who fears physical danger or has already been pushed, hit or kicked should not be afraid to ask an adult for help.

Stay in a group. A taunting bully is often tempered by a crowd.

Ignore the bully or pretend the bully doesn't exist. Bullies are trying to get attention. If they don't get a reaction, they might just give up.

Don't use physical force. Violence never solves problems -- and it may lead to biggerm ones. Also, there's no way to tell ahead of time how a bully who feels threatened might react.

Walk tall. Again, bullies are looking for attention. If a child sends a message that he is not scared or intimidated, the bully often backs off.

www.kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/emotion/bullies.html

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