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Bullying, Fighting, Weapons and Murderous children


Dr. Gayani DeSilva MD


Children and Parenting

Gayani DeSilva is a Child Adolescent Psychiatrist with 20 years experience. She is the author of A Psychiatrists Guide: Helping Parents Reach Their Depressed Tween, and A Psychiatrists Guide: Stop Teen Addiction Before It Starts.

Bullying has become a widespread problem that many children face, and adults must take seriously.


The statistics are clear: 20% of kids/teens report being bullied on school property. Among high school students, 15.5% are cyberbullied. 90% of kids who are bullied on-line are also bullied off-line. Bullied students reported that bullying occurred in the following places: the hallway or stairwell at school (42%), inside the classroom (34%), in the cafeteria (22%), outside on school grounds (19%), on the school bus (10%), and in the bathroom or locker room (9%) More than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied


The incidence of fighting was trending down, but holding steady at 16% since 2015. Teens use weapons: 1. 16% of teens carry weapons 2. Carrying a weapon increases the use of weapons in violent acts 3. In 2014, homicide was the third leading cause of death for teens ages 15 to 19 in the U.S. 4. In 2009, an average of 20 U.S. children and adolescents were hospitalized each day due to firearm injuries


Murderous children are uncommon but significant. There is no one type of youthful killer and they often come from families where they see or experience much violence.


Murder starts to become prominent in the statistics at 13 and 14; at 15 it is almost as high as the rate for all ages. From 15 on, the homicide rate continues to rise sharply each year during adolescence, according to F.B.I. statistics. The overwhelming majority are male. Physically, there are differences in temporal and frontal areas of the brain, which are involved in impulsive behaviors.


Treatments that work for violent children and teens include medications that treat underlying mental illness, and cognitive behavioral therapy.


Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do to prevent bullying are: listen to the student, check in with them afterwards to see if the bullying stopped, empathize with the child’s experience, and give the student advice. Parents can do the same thing at home!

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