SHAH ALAM: Instead of trying to end bullying through humiliating punishments, adults need to model love, kindness and compassion for children, said respected developmental psychologist Dr Goh Chee Leong.
Physically punishing or shaming a child could make the adult the bully instead, he added.
“It might be easier to vent our anger at the situation on a child, but we all need to try shifting our culture of blame to one of understanding.
“Being firm and assertive doesn’t mean we should whack a child who’s a bully. Violence begets violence; showing kindness and love is the most important intervention for both victims and bullies,” said Dr Goh, who is also the dean of HELP University’s Psychology Department, at a free StarLIVE talk at the SP Setia Network Hub in Setia Alam yesterday.
The talk, titled “Creating a Culture of Kindness Against Bullying”, is part of the #StandTogether bullying prevention campaign jointly organised by R.AGE and SP Setia, and focuses on teaching participants how to raise children in a helpful and effective way.
Dr Goh’s speech touched the audience comprising mostly parents and teachers.
“My wife and I attended this talk because it’s important that we learn to educate our child using love and good values,” said Eric Kim, father of a two-year-old.
“Now we know how to handle bullying situations better. We’ll definitely share what we’ve learnt with our friends.”
Also in the audience was SP Setia deputy president and chief operating officer Datuk Wong Tuck Wai.
“The feedback from the crowd was encouraging and we hope everyone took back some key points to make a change in their schools and neighbourhood.
“We believe that if each individual adopts this value of kindness and stops the act of bullying, we will be able to impact the community at large and make a change in our society in the long term,” said Wong.
Star Media Group managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai was similarly impressed by both the talk and its participants.
“Many of us were raised in the Asian-style ‘one tight slap settles everything’ culture. To see so many people drive here on a Saturday morning to learn how to raise kinder children was truly inspiring,” he said.
“It shows parents are keen to educate themselves about this issue and help create a better society.”
#StandTogether aims to create an annual National Kindness Week in all schools in the first week of April every year, and is being organised with support from Unicef Malaysia, Digi, Teach For Malaysia, Study Hub Asia, 100% Project and Dr Goh.
Together, the committee developed a five-day National Kindness Week programme for schools, approved by the Education Ministry. All schools can download the programme for free at www.standtogether.my.
Students can also do their part by joining the #StandTogether Competition. Grants of up to RM1,000 each will be given to fund at least 25 student ideas on how to promote kindness in their schools. Find out more at www.standtogether.my/competition.