A 14-year-old boy just killed a 15-year-old boy who, reports claim, was bullying him. Murder and violence can never be excused, but it must be understood with an eye towards curbing similar actions in the future. When anyone gets pushed to their breaking point, a reaction will result. And yet, most people push that truth away. Most Namibians do not correctly label bullying. They make excuses for brutality and ill-treatment. The battle against the bullies must start at home. As of now, in Namibia, bullying is normal.

According to www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org, bullying is defined as when someone is being hurt either by words or actions on purpose, usually more than once, feels bad because of it, and has a hard time stopping what is happening to them.

Bullying can be physical. It includes hitting, pushing and shoving, fighting, yelling at/insulting someone, making rude gestures, or purposefully damaging another person’s things.

It can be emotional. It includes name-calling and maliciously making ‘fun’ of someone. It is cruelly mocking or laughing at someone andexcluding someone on purpose. Emotional bullying is starting rumours/reckless gossip or telling lies about someone. In today’s ICT world it is sending mean messages on social media or over a cell phone, or trying to make someone feel bad about who they are.

People fail to understand that bullying can happen anywhere. It can occur at home, in the neighbourhood, at school, at work, at church, at events and while on-line.

Parents of bullies and victims, you know what is going on and you are not doing enough to address the matter.

Get on top of the problem before things get out of control. Talk to your kids but most importantly, LISTEN to their answers and apply your mind.

If your child is bully, challenge the lies and half-truths. Follow-up on statements made, ask the parents of the victims their view of what is going on. Challenge the teachers for not supervising the minor children better. Go to the head of the school with your complaints. If things persist and no changes are happening, you may one to go to lawyers or the police. Don’t sit quietly and let it happen. Measure your options, make sure your child is ok with all that you want to do, support and believe them and then move.

Parents of bullies: stop making excuses for raising a junior demon. Correct the problem, there is time. Don’t wait until the child your kid is tormenting, sticks a knife in his chest.

Parents of bullies: what are you doing at home that has given your impressionable child a ‘green light’ to abuse others? Children learn what they live. If you are intolerant, judgemental, and aggressive, there is a good chance your child will mimic you.

Those parents that deny their kids’ bullying may end up being elders who are beaten-up by that same child (now an adult). Child bullies sometimes grow up to be adult bullies.

Being bullied is a nightmare. Even at home, bullying can happen amongst siblings and family members. Are you correcting this behaviour? An older sibling beating and harassing a younger one is not just ‘harmless sibling rivalry.’ A line has been crossed when the victim feels abused. Shall we wait until the victim harms themselves and the bully, fails all of their classes or runs away from home?

Bullying is sometimes done in the shadows. These victims blame themselves; they are embarrassed and often tell no one about their troubles. They lose their self-esteem and act out.

Bullying is also done in full view of the world. There are teachers, parents and family members who see bullying in progress and do nothing. At times, authority figures laugh alongside of the bully. They say it is: ‘harmless teasing’ or ‘kids playing.’ They chide the victim to ‘stop crying and acting like a baby. They say, ‘he was just joking with you’ or worse, ‘he must learn to manage his own problems and find his own way.’

The audience watching bullies in action without stating their objections are guilty of the murder of the spirit of the victim. Society makes excuses for bullies and abusers because many fear unpleasant confrontation more than they want to protect those who are vulnerable.

Go online and read articles with suggestions of solutions if your child is the bully or the victim. Let us not allow children to reach their breaking points and react. We must stop making bullying normal in Namibia.