Angry Singapore dad attacks son's 10-year-old bully, causing fractured rib.
"Since you can bully my son, I can bully you.”
A Singapore dad was so angry that his son was being repeatedly bullied in school, he decided to take matters into his own hands. The angry dad attacked son's bully in school, causing a fracture in his ribs.
"Since you can bully my son, I can bully you", he reportedly told the boy, as he grabbed the 10-year-old's chest and pushed him against a wall.
According to the father's (Mr Tan Chin Tai) defence lawyer, his son, who was in Primary 4 at the time, was being bullied at school for more than 2 years.
The child in question had apparently been bullying Tan's son by abusing him with vulgarities and cursing at his mother. It seems, he also threatened that he would hit other children if they spoke to Tan's son.
According to the defence lawyer, the father had complained to his son's teacher, but no real action was taken about it. The bullying apparently got so bad that, at one point, the father even considered moving his son to a different school.
On 7 July 2017, Mr Tan spotted the bully while picking his son from school at around 1.15pm. He approached the boy, grabbed him by his school bag and pushed him towards a rubbish shed. He then shoved him onto a wall and threatened him.
“Just because you are bigger in size, you can bully others. Since you can bully my son, I can bully you", he said.
The victim, who had been pushed on the chest, soon felt pain on the left side of his chest and went to a hospital. An X-ray revealed that he had a small fracture in one of his ribs.
He was discharged on the same day and given painkillers.
The whole incident apparently did not make things easier for Tan's son. Instead, it made the bullying worse, with the victim spreading the news that, "playing with him will cause kids to be fractured by his dad".
On 29 April 2019, Tan Chin Tai was jailed for seven weeks for hurting a young child.
The Deputy Public Prosecutor stressed that you cannot take justice into your own hands.
"We should call a spade a spade and a fracture a fracture. This is a case when we have an adult taking advantage of a vulnerable victim", he has been quoted as saying.
He also added that the right thing to do for Tan, was to escalate the matter to the discipline master, the principal or even to MOE, and not to attack the boy.
District Judge Christopher Tan opined that, "I think we also know that for 10-year-old children, bullying and disputes do happen and that has to be dealt with according to a certain framework."
"If I take the position that such behaviour between children justifies an adult going to school and inflicting the kind of injury that happened in this case ... what kind of precedent would that set?"
The incident also raises many questions - has bullying in Singapore become a major concern of late?
According to a recent report, Singapore has the third highest rate of bullying globally! How then can we make sure that our children are adequately bully-proofed? Here are some tips:
Be compassionate and respectful towards your children
Refrain from using power or force to control your kids. Raise them in loving, respectful relationships instead.
If you spank or cane your child, they are more likely to use violence to solve their own problems. Research has shown that physically disciplining a child is associated with bullying behaviours.
Also, sometimes, the child feels bullied at home by siblings or parents. So, one reason for bullying may be that, what they can't do at home, children may take it out on their peers.
Talk and stay connected with your kids
Maintain a close, friendly relationship with your child. Bullying sometimes forces kids to feel shame, so they worry about telling their parents.
Talk to your kid daily about their day. If your relationship is close, your child will feel comfortable opening up to you about problems they are facing in school, including bullying.
Encourage them to make friends
It is important to teach your child to develop social skills and make good friends.
Bullies rarely target children in groups. They tend to isolate loners.
Instill confidence and self esteem
Bullies target children they perceive to be weak. It is important to build your child’s self-esteem from a young age with positive reinforcement.
At the same time, as a parent it is also necessary to walk the talk, and model confident behaviour. Remember, your child is learning from watching you.
- Look out for warning signs
If your child suddenly goes from being a happy and open child to being introverted or silent, talk to him/her and find out what is wrong.
If your child refuses to go to school, this is a clear indicator that something is wrong. You may need to do some investigation. Don't be hesitant to discuss the issue with her teacher.
Teach your children to stand up for themselves
Bullying usually starts with verbal abuse. Teach your child to stand up for themselves in these instances. It is best to ignore the bully and walk away.
Kids should also know how to avoid bullies. Bullies usually target victims where adults are not present. Therefore, if you feel your kid is a victim of school bullying, ask them to stick to their friends, and to avoid unsupervised areas in the school.
Teach your child that there is no shame is talking to an adult or asking for help. When being harrassed, tell an adult, parent, teacher, counsellor or the principal.
- Tinkle Friend Helpline (for primary school pupils only): 1800-274-4788
- ComCare: 1800-222-0000