Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Brunei Town

A tale of woe

A mother reached out to the Bulletin following a recent video of bullying that went viral. She shared her son’s experience as a victim of bullying and how it changed his personality and attitude.

“It began with my son coming home with bruises on his abdomen. At first I did not take it seriously as I thought he fell or bumped into something. Later, during dinner, he refused to eat, saying he had a stomach ache.

“As a mother, I was concerned and wanted to know what happened at school causing painful bruises, thinking he might have been punished for bad behaviour. Even then, punishment wouldn’t have caused such injuries.

“I went to his school to meet a teacher to find out what happened. I was told that he was naughty, hard to manage and got involved in a fight, which explained the bruises.

“Knowing my son, it was hard to believe he did all the things he was accused of doing. I advised him to keep to himself and not get into a situation where he could get hurt.

“I also hoped the incident would not happen again. However, three weeks later, it happened again.


“This time, he came home in tears saying his ears were hurting badly. He said he got his ears pulled when he tried to help a friend who was getting bullied.

“Again, I went to see his teacher, and even talked with the principal. Instead of taking stern action against the bully, I was advised to transfer my son to a school with a better learning environment.

“I somewhat agreed with the principal and transferred my son for his sake, even though I also felt that the advice was not optimal.

“The decision had to be made however by that point, he had developed a fear of his school. A cheerful child had been reduced to this reclusive, quiet and squirmish boy who was running away from social engagements.

“He was at first happy with the new school. He even made a few friends. However, given what he went through in his old school, I repeatedly told him to stay away from students with disciplinary problems.

“Once he moved to the next year, he was back to his reserved self again.

“He reached out to a teacher that he had been physically abused, including getting pinched in his private parts repeatedly. It was time to move him to a new school.

“Unlike the two previous schools, this new school has a strong support system. The teachers, being aware of his previous experiences would often warn his classmates against bullying and being negative influences.

“As a parent, I try my best to be there for him, listen to his problems and hope he would overcome his trauma.

“At the same time, I want to see more parents keep a close eye on their children and intervene when there is a marked change in personality. Parents, I think, need to take immediate actions when they find out that their children are the bullies or the bullied.

“Most importantly, parents need to avoid triggers that may cause children to become bullies, such as a lack of family institution, negligence, and normalising harsh, hurtful and/or vulgar language.” – Rokiah Mahmud