Have you ever sat your children down and explained to them what a bully means and what does it take to be a bully? School bullying is a serious problem. Bullying causes a child to feel scared, lonely, sick, embarassed, hurt or sad.
The sad truth about bullies is that they are often victims themselves. They have probably seen violence in their own communities or homes, such as seeing their parents getting into a physical fight. Many bullies have been bullied themselves, some even experienced physical or sexual abuse.
What is bullying?
There is no legal definition of bullying. But it is usually defined as repeated behaviour which is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically, and is often aimed at certain people because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation or any other aspect such as appearance or disability.
Bullying can take many forms including:
What should you do if your child is being bullied at school?
▶️ Communication is key: Talk to your child about how she or he reacted to the bully. Your child should be comfortable telling you about sensitive issues like this.
▶️ The best way to deal with a bully is to not engage, walk away and inform another adult (e.g parents, teachers, school principle etc). Every child deserves to go to school in a safe environment.
What if your child is the bully instead?
This is a serious matter and if left unattended, it can escalate further to behavioural problems and adult criminal behaviour. Do talk to to your pediatrician if you have concerns regarding your child’s behaviour.
Why should bullying be taken seriously?
Once of the most dreaded consequences of bullying is suicide, referred to as “bullycide”. Our Malaysian youths are catching up with the rest of the world as suicide is now the second leading cause of death for youth between ages 15 to 29 years old.
Let’s work together to stop bullying. ?
School bullying Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(10):964
Statistics from National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017
Dr. JoAnn Rajah is a child specialist that provides pediatric care to baby and children in Selangor and KL. Her core strength lies in diagnosing early signs of child health issues and guiding parents on how to manage them.