June 8th, 2016
Weekly Chatter
Bullying Intervention Update: Target Families and PCPs
Faced by a quarter of US children, bullying is now considered a serious public health problem. Victims of bullying can experience a range of physical problems, including sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal concerns, and headaches, and significant stress, increasing the risk of mental health problems, like impaired cognitive functioning and self-regulation of emotions.

Bullying and being bullied during childhood and adolescence has been linked to psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, and alcohol and drug abuse into adulthood. Worse yet, bullies and their victims are significantly more likely to contemplate or attempt suicide.

According to recent research, widely used zero-tolerance policies that impose automatic suspension or expulsion of students from school after one bullying incident are not effective at curbing bullying or making schools safer and should be discontinued. Instead, resources should be directed at parents and families. Families play a critical role in bullying prevention by providing emotional support to encourage disclosure of bullying incidents and by fostering coping skills in their children.

Pediatricians and primary care providers are encouraged to screen for bullying concerns during regular visits. As an important, family-trusted, front line of protection, 
doctors can ask parents about sudden behavioral changes,
unexplained injuries, declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school, which are all warning signs that a child is being bullied. Increasingly aggressive behavior and a tendency to blame others for one's own actions are warning signs that a child may be bullying others.

Click here for more warning signs and here for a pediatric bullying & cyber-bullying screening guide created by Boston Children's Hospital's BACPAC program, in partnership with the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC)

For helpful information to share with patients, friends and family, check out the ACPeds position statement Bullying at School: Never Acceptable and consider sharing it on your practice and social media pages. Although bullying has long been tolerated as a rite of passage among children and adolescents, it has lasting negative consequences that cannot simply be ignored.
Poverty Linked to Adverse Health Outcomes in Children
According to recent research, more US kids have chronic health problems today than in the past and low-income children are experiencing the biggest increases. Not only are impoverished children experiencing more significant increases in asthma and ADHD than their wealthier counterparts, they are also more likely to suffer from 2 or more additional conditions. These findings confirm the need for increased awareness to emphasize the importance of studying poverty, its impact on child health, and how it can be mitigated by improved child health policies.

At a recent Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, data was presented indicating that parent mentors and coaches, video and technology, and better implementation in schools could all be effective ways to improve health outcomes among children living in poverty that primary care providers can foster. Findings suggest that implementing parent mentors nationally could save over $10.5 billion, and if the intervention were shown to be effective for all race and ethnic groups, for all uninsured children, it could save 20.1 billion.

These interventions showed robust impacts on parent-child relationships, including increased reading aloud, talking and teaching, as well as increased quality of play, reduced screen time and reduced physical punishment. Parents saw a reduction in depression symptoms and stress; and children experienced improved cognitive and language development and reduced hyperactivity and depression. Click here for more information on the study.
Should You Pay for an "A"? #WeeklyBlogPost
While some parents may argue that rewarding your child with money for getting good grades in school   motivates children and teaches them the importance of an education,
  experts argue against paying for good grades

Although motivation for study may improve in the beginning, once money is no longer rewarded for good grades, intrinsic motivation to do well in school is lost and grades ultimately suffer.

For information on how to motivate kids to perform better in school without a monetary incentive, click here  and leave a comment. We love to hear from you!

A new blog article is published each Monday at ACPeds.org/Blog. Click here to subscribe. Consider sharing the blog to your social media pages each week.  The more people we reach, the more people we can help.
Don't hesitate to contact us with your questions and comments. We look forward to hearing from you.