In South Africa countless children fall victim to bullying, harassment and abuse at schools. It has been reported that there is an increase in the number and severity of bullying incidents in South African schools, made so much worse by the onset of social media. Urgent and sustained intervention is required – no doubt an enormous challenge.
Bullies are found in most schools and communities – even in top schools you will find incidents of bullying. It affects both girls and boys and has led to children committing suicide or dropping out of school because of the stress of being bullied. It is just one of the many reasons that many parents choose to homeschool their kids.
Why are Children bullied?
Any child can be bullied, but some are more vulnerable. These are some of the most common reasons why:
– Race and religion;
– How they look – obvious physical characteristics such as spectacles, being too fat / skinny / short or having a disability;
– Early or late sexual development;
– The way they dress;
– How much money they have or factors relating to their parents;
A bully will often claim that he or she is “only teasing” but there is a big difference between teasing and bullying. Not only does the victim need help but the perpetrator also needs careful care and rehabilitation. Children who bully have often experienced bullying themselves and will often have low self-esteem, social skills or other issues in their lives. They need to learn to understand themselves, their feelings and the effect and consequences of their actions
Bullying gangs often become violent gangs that are involved in crime, so schools need to respond pro-actively to prevent things getting out of hand. Sadly, research shows that most children believe that when they report the bullying to an educator nothing is going to be done to stop it.
Advice you can give your child if they experience bullying:
Bullying hurts and it sometimes makes you want to hurt others in return. One may even blame oneself but it important to understand that it is the behaviour of the bully that is wrong and unnacceptable. Here are some points to discuss with your children about bullying:
– Always tell someone. There is nothing to be ashamed about – keep on talking until someone listens and gives you the help that you need.
– Ask the bully to stop. They may not know that their behaviour is hurting you.
– Avoid being alone with the bully. Try to make friends and hang out as a group. A bully is less likely to bother you if you are not alone.
– Believe in yourself. The bully is the one with the problem. Have confidence in yourself and get the help you need from family, educators and friends.
A lot of the content for this blog was derived from www.Childlinesa.org.za. If you are experiencing any of these problems you can contact them for counselling on 08000 555 55