Children are bringing knives to school!
Little ones in Britain seem to be facing trauma at school. According to an article published in The New Paper this week, seven to nine-year-olds are bringing harmful objects like knives into their schools. When questioned why, some said they were being bullied by other students. Others claimed they were using the objects to scare their classmates. With the unstable levels of rioting and street violence that have been taking place in the UK, it is not surprising that children are nervous about going to school. Council estates in central London that often have high violence rates are home to many young children.
Bullying in Singapore
Singapore is at the other extreme. Kids here generally feel safe and are aware that they are in a relatively protected environment. But there have been cases where children are victims of bullying. According to Bully Free, an organisation in Singapore that acts against violence and bullying in schools, the average age-group that calls in on their hotline in between 10 and 12 years of age. Here is more evidence that bullying takes place in Singapore.
Girls bullying boys
Madelene Tan, said her seven-year-old son was slapped across the face twice by a girl sitting next to him. She kicked his table and when he asked for an apology, he got slapped instead. This happened two weeks into his primary-one year. “On the first day of the third week, my son called me before class began and demanded I pick him up immediately. I was so worried that he was scared of going to school because of her”, she says. The matter was eventually resolved after Madelene wrote to the teacher about the situation and the girl was moved to another seat. She also says her son is now friends with the same girl.
The reasons behind bullying
What is it that prompts kids to bully their classmates? Size, intelligence, social standing? Whatever the reason, the victims of the situation never forget what they have been through and it is very traumatizing on the parents too. Wai Yoke, has an eight year old son who suffered from a bullying threat and is scared to even inform his teacher. He was bullied by another child who broke his pencil-case and then threatened him with the words “I will beat you” during recess. Wai’s son was not the only victim in this particular case.
Many kids are scared of even telling their parents they are being bullied, so make sure you ask your child today.
What to do if your child is a bully
Here is some advice from Bully Free on how you as a parent can help if your child is bullying another child.
- If your child is the bully, insist that he/she apologizes to the victim. Let your child know that bullying is not an acceptable form of behaviour and that he/she needs is responsible for his/her own action.
- You will need to support and help your child realise that what he is doing is wrong. Be patient and take time to listen to your child’s side of the story on what exactly happened and the reasons behind the situation.
- Understanding these could give you a clearer idea on the kind of support and help he/she needs from you, teachers, counselor and peers. Assure your child that you will be there throughout the process.
- Be patient and express your concern as your child may not be willing to share initially.
- Regular monitoring and supervision of the child’s behavior as well as getting updates from school on any observations will help.
- Continue to be observant and pick up tell-tale signs to show if your child has corrected his/her bullying behaviour.
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SIGNS THAT YOUR CHILD MIGHT BE A BULLY!
- Excluding another child.
- Being insensitive to the feelings or needs of others; a lack of empathy.
- Threatening with force or fear, taunting or intimidating.
- Physical aggressiveness (hits, punches, kicks, hides one’s belongings, etc.)
- High need for control and domination over others.
- Damages other’s property or clothing.
- Bad-tempered, impulsive, easily frustrated.
- Unconcerned if someone is upset or hurt but takes pleasure in it.
- Refuses to accept responsibility or denies wrong doing when evidence shows guilt.
- Targets those who are weaker or younger or animals.
[/stextbox] It is important for parents to know that, even though bullies may be wrong in terms of their behaviour, empathy is still required when treating them (just like with victims). This is because they may have certain unresolved issues or possess social/emotional difficulties which have caused them to engage in bullying behaviour. Some children become bullies because they have been a victim of bullying in the past and did not receive of help. Severe punishments are not recommended when working with bullies – bullying is a social problem, and those who bully may already be facing some form of social difficulties. With severe punishments, bullies may become even more socially isolated, which may then lead to a worsening of the problem.
Source: Interview with BullyFree.