Bullying is becoming a very common trend in any educational institution in Singapore and across the world.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, victims are becoming younger and in Singapore, I’m afraid that young kids in daycares and kindergartens are not exempted from it.
Although bullying cases in daycares and kindergartens are not as violent as those reported in other schools, it can still cause a lot of damage to the young child’s emotional being.
Children bully for very similar reasons
Children tend to bully other children for a variety of reasons and they also vary on how they bully others.
Bullied bullies are usually children who have been bullied in the past and now wish to do the same thing to others. As sad as it may sound, the truth is that they may have also developed this streak because their home environment supports bullying.
Social bullies are insecure children who do not want others to succeed. They would lie to others so that their victims will be targetted by others.
Detached bullies are those who want to bully for the fun of it all. I know they would manipulate others and they usually have a following who love what they are doing.
Finally, hyperactive bullies are those who are not very bright. They do not even realize that their actions are bad and cannot easily understand that fact.
The victims of these bullies are usually those who cannot fight back. They are also the ones who do not have any support to stand up to these bullies. They are also reluctant to talk about their experience because they do not want to start trouble.
Some victims are often targeted because of their skills, which causes bullies to be jealous and see them differently.
Take note of changes in behaviour
Since victims of bullying do not want to talk about their experience, parents cannot easily intervene. However, they will display behaviour changes that should raise your alarm bells off.
One example, I know is that as a parent, you may notice your child losing their possessions or they suddenly get injuries they can’t explain.
If your child before said they love school, they would start making excuses not to go if they are being bullied. They will say they are not feeling well or just say outright they don’t want to go. They will also start acting out and bully their friends or siblings. Others may even become moody and react violently when you want to talk to them. Some may even be resigned to their fate and go to school without zeal.
If your child does not want to speak to you about being bullied, their reluctance, behaviour and silence will speak for itself. If you were bullied when you were younger, you can share your experience with them and tell them how you got past it.
You can also ask the adults they trust to speak to them and support the child. You can also reach out to a psychologist if your child shows signs of trauma because of their experience.
Skills to combat bullying
If you want your child to combat bullies, you have to teach them how to react.
Some bullies often tease kids who do not have social skills and friends to support them. To counter this, encourage your child to reach out and befriend others.
You should also teach your child to stay calm when they are confronted by bullies and teach them how to say “no” or “stop” firmly. Bullies may find themselves bewildered at first with your child’s response, but if they continue to say stop, they will back down.
Bullies tend to continue their activities if they see their victims becoming scared or powerless. Helping your child learn how to stand up for themselves will help counter these bullies.
If the bully continues their assault, you can interfere and speak to your child’s teacher. You can have them sort out a meeting with the bully’s parents and speak to them about their child’s behaviour. However, this should be the last option you should pursue because some bullies may use it as a leverage to taunt your child further.
One of the other consideration is to move your child to another school if bullying persists.
You can also enrol your child in a self-defence course to help them build their confidence. If the bullies become physically abusive, they can use their new skills to fight back. However, you must remember to tell them that their skills should not be used to bully others. It must only be used to protect themselves and others being bullied.
Schools must also monitor the students
Schools must also ensure that their facilities are bully-free zones. Daycare and kindergarten teachers, in particular, must supervise their charges at all times and make sure to note their students’ interactions.
Teachers must also try to make time to speak to each student to see if they are adapting to school life or if they are being bullied by their peers. If they do notice that the student is being bullied, they should intervene and speak to the children involved.
Schools can also set up a guidance office where students can go to and speak to a guidance officer about their experience. The guidance officer can then intervene in the child’s behalf and speak to the bullies.
Lectures against bullying can also help schools stop the growth of bullying in school. Schools can also speak to parents and find ways to stop bullying. If the problem is caused by the child’s environment, schools can intervene and help the child get away from such an environment.
Young children should be able to study without fear and bullies must be stopped before they can cause problems. If the bullying continues to persist at a young age, not only will the victims find it difficult to stand up for themselves, bullies would find it difficult to stop.
Parents, teachers and children should play their part to ensure this trend does not continue and work together to stop it. If they do work together, they will be able to keep schools peaceful and be a fun place to learn.
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