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Overlook Hospital Presents a New 12-Step Approach to Curb Bullying

“Bully Busters” Program Aims to Help Parents, Teachers and Students Learn to Avoid Being Targeted and Stop Bullying in its Tracks

Program Provided Free to the Community

For Immediate Release

Summit, NJ, March 22, 2010 – More than one in five children in the U.S. has experienced bullying, and nearly 40 percent report having been assaulted by other youths, according to new 2010 data from the U.S. Department of Justice. To deter bullying among children in the community, Overlook Hospital Community Health will present “Bully Busters,” a free event for adults and children to learn a new 12-step process to combat bullying. The event will take place on Wednesday, April 7 from 7:00 to 8:30pm at Wallace Auditorium, Overlook Hospital, 99 Beauvoir Avenue, Summit, NJ. Register by calling the Atlantic Health class registration line at 1-800-247-9580.

Created by Overlook Hospital clinical psychologist, Rosalind S. Dorlen, PsyD, “Bully Busters” will educate school personnel, child caregivers, parents and children on how to work together to end bullying through intervention and behavior modification. Attendees will learn to identify signs and symptoms of bullying for the second grader through high school, and communication tools to discuss bullying with children and adults. Cyber-bullying will also be addressed and demonstrated by a group of Randolph High School students. The program will conclude with a question and answer session.

Parents, pediatricians, family doctors, physician residents, teachers, coaches, school nurses, guidance and camp counselors, school bus drivers, nannies and any individual overseeing child activities or communicating with children and teenagers are encouraged to attend. Children, students, campers and patients who want to learn how to avoid becoming a target of bullying, or how to become an effective bystander to a conflict are also welcome.

“The goal of ‘Bully Busters’ and the 12 steps is to serve as a blueprint for school personnel, parents and children on how they can work together to combat what has become a pervasive public health problem among youth,” said Rosalind S. Dorlen, PsyD, an Overlook Hospital clinical psychologist who has a private practice in Summit, NJ and who created the program. “We’re going to talk about empowering the targets of bullying as well as the bystanders, give suggested practices for when bullying is witnessed or perceived and provide tips for how to intervene.”

What is bullying?

Bullying is deliberate. It is the desire to hurt, threaten or frighten someone. It can be with words or actions. It can be by one person or more and can vary in the degree of severity. It can be an isolated incident, but usually involves repeated actions by a child or children. The differences in power make bullying possible.

Bullying can include threatening, teasing, name calling, excluding, ganging up, preventing others from going where they want to, or taking away their belongings. It can be pushing, shoving or hitting and all forms of physical abuse. It includes sending hurtful or scary messages on phone calls, IM text or e-mails. It can be one or a number of these, however, verbal abuse is the most common form of bullying.

It happens at school - in restrooms, change rooms, locker rooms and playgrounds. It happens outside school - at bus stops and train stations, on transport, in parks, walking home, at athletic clubs, and at home.

As long as the bullying gives satisfaction and no-one does something about it, the bullying will continue.

Bullying, which is also called harassment, is a form of cruelty that affects not just the bullies and victims, but those who witness the behavior and the distress of the victim. Bullying is widespread and most commonly found in schools. Schools have a responsibility to create an environment where children feel safe and in recent years, schools have taken steps to develop policies against bullying.

However, children can be bullied anywhere, and adults can be bullies. Bullying can have a very bad effect on the child who is being bullied and on the child who is allowed to go on bullying. Bullying needs to be taken seriously by adults.

As with many issues related to growing up, openly talking about bullying before it happens is most helpful for children. Teaching children how to recognize and react to bullying, regardless of who is the victim, is of great importance. Talking about and modeling empathy, which is being sensitive to and understanding how other people feel, can help prevent your child from becoming involved in bullying others.

“Children on both sides of bullying incidents need help,” says Dr. Dorlen. “Adults must first recognize that bullying should not be ignored. This includes the form of bullying most typical for girls - excluding and shunning. People used to believe that bullies were social outcasts with underlying feelings of inadequacy, but research shows that they are more apt to have an over-inflated view of themselves.”

“No bullying behaviors should be considered a normal part of growing up. Bullying is abusive behavior that has a negative impact on other children and can be an early sign of more violent or cruel behavior later in life,” says Dr. Dorlen.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, one out of four child bullies has a criminal record by age 30 years.

If you think your child is bullying others

Aggressive behavior often starts early in a child's life. Although it is normal for young children to hit, fight, and argue with each other, most will learn to control these impulses. You can help your child understand that his or her words and actions affect other people. Parents play an important role in making a child aware of others' feelings.

Parents should recognize that their child may be bullying another if he or she:

  • Comes home from school with extra money or "new" toys, books, or clothes.
  • Is cruel or mean when talking about other children.
  • Excludes other children from activities.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends that parents of children who bully seek help from their child's teacher, principal, school counselor, pediatrician or family doctor. These professionals can help evaluate a child's behavior and make a referral to a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a psychologist or a licensed counselor who can work with the child.

If you think your child is being bullied

Many children are too embarrassed or are afraid to tell an adult about bullying. They may think that involving an adult will only make the problem worse.

Some signs of being bullied may be:

  • Not wanting to go to school
  • Finding excuses for not going to school, such as feeling sick or being sick
  • Wanting to go to school a different way, such as changing the route or being driven instead of catching a bus
  • Being very tense, tearful and unhappy before or after school
  • Talking about hating school or other children
  • Showing bruises or scratches
  • Damage to or loss of personal belongings
  • Showing problems with sleeping, such as not sleeping, nightmares, bedwetting
  • Not having any friends
  • Refusing to talk about what happens at school.

These signs are not exclusive to a child being bullied, but you need to check out what is worrying your child.

“It's not unusual for children to avoid reporting a bully. They may feel ashamed that they have been unable to deal with the bully, or they may have been threatened by the bully not to tell anyone. Parents and teachers need to learn effective ways to help deal with bullies, their victims, and to assist the bystanders,” says Dr. Dorlen.

To Register for Bully Busters, call the Atlantic Health Class Registration Line at 800-247-9580. The free program will take place in the Overlook Hospital Wallace Auditorium. Refreshments will be served. Park in the West Garage.

This program is sponsored by the Community Health Education department of Overlook Hospital. Reaching out to the community to target specific groups and address their healthcare needs is a priority at Overlook Hospital. In 2007, Overlook Hospital Community Education reached more than 53,000 community members through health education, screening and prevention programs and health fairs. Health education programs are held at Overlook Hospital and at multiple convenient and accessible locations throughout Union County. Any organization interested in hosting a health program, lecture or screening, contact Joyce Passen at 908-522-5355 or

Overlook Hospital

Overlook Hospital is a 504-bed not-for-profit community hospital with more than 1,200 attending physicians. In addition to the state’s first designated Comprehensive Stroke Center, the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute offers brain tumor and epilepsy programs, neuro-interventional radiology and the northeast’s first CyberKnife for the treatment of inoperable brain, spine and other tumors. The Frank and Mimi Walsh Maternity Center boasts 24 private mother/baby rooms and a new state-of-the-art Level III Community Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with the largest pediatric surgery group in New Jersey.

Media Contacts:

  • Overlook Medical Center
  • 99 Beauvoir Avenue
  • Summit, NJ 07902
  • Janina Scheytt Hecht
  • Public Relations Manager
  • 908-522-2142
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