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Wietske Boon

Bullying is any verbal or physical behaviour that is aggressive of nature that harms or injures any other person.

Bullying behaviour is the result of aggression and/or unexpressed emotions that the child can’t handle in a positive way.  Bullying can also be a result of copied behaviour seen at role models e.g. aggressive parents, siblings, friends or movie stars as children learn through observation of other’s behaviour.  It is thus important that a child has positive role models and friends.  The relationships at home should also be positive.  Punishment should be of such nature that it does not communicate aggression to the child, but rather that of love of caring parents.

Create healthy alternatives for the child to express emotions like anger in an appropriate manner.  Physical activities can help a child to use up all the build-up energy in the body.  Therapy can also assist children to cope with their situations and to deal positively with their emotions.

The victim of bullying is usually the quiet, well-mannered child that can not stand up against a bully.  The parents and teachers need to support the victim of bullying by protecting these children and teaching them basic skills to handle the situation.  Parents should inform the school as soon as it is known that the child is being bullied.

The parents of both the bullies as well as the victims of bullying need to seek professional guidance to support both parties of bullying behaviour.

Wietske Boon, Play Therapist, www.childtherapist.co.za; wietske@childtherapist.co.za

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