Senior clergyman calls for parents to act on bullying
The Secretary of the National Council of Churches, Reverend Maauga Motu, believes parents need to play a more proactive role in shaping the behaviour of their children to stop bullying.
Speaking about an international survey identified bullying among youth in Samoa as among the highest in the world, Rev. Motu says the issue begins within homes and the solution should therefore also be found there.
“To me, if the children see their parents fighting at home, then that is where the bullying concept begins,” he said. “The children will think that it is okay to hit and to pick on someone else.”
The senior Reverend believes most problem point to back to families and what parents are teaching their children.
“The parents should be teaching their kids how to care for another person whether they are related or not,” he said.
“Friends or not, kids should be taught to respect their other classmates not picking on them especially the vulnerable children.”
There is also a need for everyone in the community to come together to address the issue. This includes parents, teachers, villages and churches.
“If the parents fail to discipline their child the way they should, then the teacher or the Reverend should come in and do something. We must not leave it to the parents alone, this is everyone’s responsibility.”
Reverend Maauga Motu also shared a personal experience he had with bullying among young people in Samoa.
“My son attended Avele College,” he said. “After school I went to pick him and I found him crying. I asked about what happened but he told me that one of the prefects took his shoes.
“So we tried to find the prefect but he was nowhere to be seen.”
Rev. Motu said he took his distraught son home.
“The next day I went with my son straight to the Principal. The Principal called in the prefect and told the prefect that if by 3pm and the shoes are not on his table, he would be expelled.
“Before 3pm the shoes were already on the Principal’s desk.”
Rev. Motu said parents could learn a lot from the actions of the Avele College Principal, whom he said was firm.
He said parents should discipline their children and let them know there are rules to be followed.
“My advice is that parents should try and communicate with their kids and not let them wander off the streets because next thing they’ll know is that their kids will become something that they never wish for them to become.”