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14 signs that your child is being bullied or is a bully

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What's normal, what's not

The profile of the adolescent bully is changing from the schoolyard thug who extorts fistfuls of lunch money to a more covert operator who avoids face-to-face confrontations in favor of phones and Facebook.   The harmful results remain the same, however. Targets of bullies can suffer from physical injuries, social exclusion, depression and, in extreme cases, self-harm and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers bullying a form of youth violence and calls “electronic aggression” an emerging public health problem. And no wonder. Adolescence is hard enough, complicated by hormones and a gauntlet of intense transformations. Throw into that the power struggles, relationship roller coasters and intimidation that are the hallmarks of bullying. Parents are left to decipher a difficult riddle: How can I tell if my child is being bullied or is being a bully? And what's just normal adolescent behavior?

--By Michael Ko 

© Kids on the playground (Fotosearch/Getty Images)
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