MANILA - The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) urged parents to listen to their children and take reports of bullying seriously.
In a statement released in its website Thursday, PAP defined bullying as "any intentional aggressive behavior done by one or more individuals, often repeatedly, to a person who is in a weaker position to defend himself or herself. "
"Bullying also has long-term harmful effects to the perpetrator, such as persistent antisocial and aggressive behavior. Bystanders who witness bullying can experience fear, anxiety, and helplessness," the group said.
According to PAP, quoting the National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children, three out of five Filipino children have experienced peer violence.
A 2011 study also showed that among 1,278 high school students, 51 percent reported having experienced bullying at least once.
"Bullying is a systemic problem, which means that there are family, peer group, school, and sociocultural factors that perpetuate bullying. It is not solely rooted in the child, whose brain and character are still developing and who is strongly influenced by his or her relationships and environment," the group said.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
To prevent bullying, PAP urged parents to listen to their children, and take reports of bullying seriously.
"Children may not disclose experiences of bullying because they believe such reports may be trivialized, seen to be their fault, or responded to in ways that may worsen rather than solve their problems," the group said.
Parents may engage in consultations with teachers, conflict resolution sessions or constructive advocacy work.
Schools are also encouraged to take a "holistic or whole-school approach to bullying prevention" which includes the participation of not only parents, teachers and students, but school administrators as well.
"This approach nurtures a positive school climate and is more effective than programs focusing only on the victim and the perpetrator," the group said.