Wednesday, August 06, 2008


From TODAY, Voices
Wednesday August 6, 2008

Why do boys harass and intimidate each other in school or on the playground?

The Journal of Developmental Psychology recently conducted a study of 452 boys in upper primary, and it revealed that those who taunt weaker peers and are rebellious at school are often the most popular children in their class. Dr Phillip Rodkin of Duke University explained the dynamic with this statement: “These boys may internalise the idea that aggression, popularity, and control naturally go together, and they may not hesitate to use physical aggression as a social strategy because it has worked in the past.” In other words, bullies are rewarded socially for harassing children below them in the pecking order, which explains why so many of them do it.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to preserve the mental and physical health of our children. I don’t buy the old argument that children should be left to work out their problems on their own. If a child is being bullied by his peers, don’t be afraid to step in and intervene.

In doing so, you will be sending a clear message to the children around you about what kind of behaviour will and will not be tolerated by society. And that’s a lesson that every child needs to learn. It is possible to stop kids from bullying. More than that, it’s our obligation.
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