PETALING JAYA: Children complaining to their parents about being bullied is a sign that this has reached a dangerous level, said expert Prof Datin Dr Noran Fauziah Yaakub.
The adjunct professor at Help University said parents must never brush off complaints of bullying.
“The child has to muster up a lot of courage to tell his parents about the bullying,” said Prof Noran yesterday.
A family friend of 13-year-old T. Kavinraj, whose mother claimed was driven by bullies to commit suicide last week, had said that he regretted not taking his complaints seriously.
However, Prof Noran, a certified expert in the field, said parents of the bullied child should not take a confrontational approach.
“It is not a good idea for parents to approach the bullies because confrontations can lead to a aggression.
“Many bullies have psychological problems and parents do not have the necessary skills to deal with them,” she said.
Instead, Prof Noran said parents should speak to teachers and let them talk to the bullies.
“We must not forget that parents of the bullies are an important party and they must be called in to help address the problem,” she said.
“Too often, new students are easy targets,” she said, recommending that parents and teachers follow the “No Blame Approach”.
The “No Blame Approach” – developed by Barbara Maines and George Robinson – believes that bullying is an interaction which establishes group identity, dominance and status at the expense of another.
It is only by the development of higher values such as empathy, consideration, and unselfishness that bullies are likely to change.
The approach also suggests that any investigation and interrogation will lead to bullies being hostile and that punishment is futile as the victim will end up getting hurt.
Relating a case involving a Form Three student admitted into a psychiatric ward, Prof Noran said she had asked the bullies if they would want to be in the same situation.
“In the end, the aggressors and other schoolmates gave the victim a card and apologised to him. He was very moved,” she said.