Published in jamaica-gleaner.com
The so-called ‘rough and tough’ upbringing, which is a way of life in Jamaica, is said to be hurting the mentality of the nation’s children, especially boys, who grow up to be potentially abused or abusive.
“Boys are suppose to be rough and tough and we play hard, and when we get injured as boys, we are not supposed to complain or cry because our parents would say, you too soft,” said anti-bullying ambassador Raymond Pryce, while speaking at the End Bully Globally Walk and Forum in Montego Bay, St James, recently.
“So when they bring that kind of mind to the child, what happens is when they are abused by others, they keep that abuse to themselves because in addition to the abuse, they don’t want their parents or anybody to say that they are soft.”
Pryce said parents need to stop that type of verbal abuse, pointing out that it is not only damaging to a child’s psyche but it can also lead to other problems.
Noted nutritionist and physiotherapist Kamla Forbes, who was one of the panellists at the forum, endorsed Pryce’s sentiments, noting that the parents’ attitude sometimes damages the self-esteem of a child.
“Telling your children that they are worthless, not good, and they are not going to come out to anything are some of the things parents say to children,” said Forbes. “These things in turn create bullies, because when you do these things to them, they go back to school and bully children because children live what they learn. So when you cram these things into your children, this is how you create the monsters.”
Forbes also shared that the ugly practice of parents sending their children to beg, as well as exposing them to explicit content, are forms of abuse with long-term consequences.
The End Bully Globally Walk and Forum, which falls under the umbrella of Le Antonio’s Foundation, saw dozens of children marching through the streets of Montego Bay with placards calling for an end to bullying, as well as crime and violence.
At the anti-bully event, which doubled as a back-to-school treat for youngsters living in inner-city communities, dozens of school bags and supplies were given to children from Barnett Lane, Railway Lane, Barracks Road, Hart Street and North Gully, among other communities.