I READ with concern last Saturday's report, 'Kicked and punched...bullying exists in S'pore schools'. What is disturbing is that about 95 per cent of the children surveyed had experienced various forms and degrees of bullying. Besides having in place some tools to address the problem, social institutions and schools must study the whole issue in perspective.
I can empathise with children who are victimised and their parents, but the bullies themselves need help too. In short, we should tackle the causes rather than the symptoms of the problem.
Why do children become bullies in the first place? Do they derive pleasure from inflicting pain and hardship on others?
Bullies are nothing but wayward children who have feelings of being unloved and unwanted, especially at home. Insensitive teachers can worsen the situation.
A child who is browbeaten and labelled a failure tends to become defiant and needs to prove his worth. Invariably, he ends up being maladjusted, turning to anti-social behaviour such as bullying others.
Hence, it is imperative for social workers, teachers and parents to make a concerted effort to trace the root of the problem and nip it in the bud.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.