Among the many issues children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are facing, bullying is a problem that is often overlooked. Speak Up, SAT-7 ARABIC’s popular talk show, addresses the severity of bullying and the importance of parents tackling this issue correctly with their children.
Bullying is a serious issue of concern which has only recently been brought to light in the MENA. Due to the recent times of unrest in the region, children may not be equipped to handle their emotions and often act aggressively towards other children.
A FAMILY SHARES THEIR EXPERIENCE
Six-year-old Martin had been subjected to bullying at school for a year. Throughout that time his mother was not aware that this was going on. When the issue was brought to light, Martin’s parents intervened. A special episode of SAT-7 ARABIC’s Speak Up featured the family’s story and how the parents tackled the issue.
Martin wanted to play with a group of friends, but they rejected him unless he agreed to share the daily snacks his mother packed for him. Martin was afraid to tell his mother because he feared that the group of boys would find out and reject him completely.
PARENTS TAKING THE RIGHT APPROACH
When Martin’s father, Nathan Fakhry, found out, he talked with his son and explained to him that he doesn’t need to give to others his things to buy their acceptance. “We encouraged him and showered him with love so that he wouldn’t feel rejected,” Fakhry shared on the program
His mother, Ruth George, helped him make a big ball of foil and then put it in the freezer to take with him to school to show his friends and play with them. “His friends were so impressed when they saw the frozen ball of foil and asked if they could join him in playing with it,” she shared with the camera. “I wanted him to create something of his own that would bring his friends to him instead of him being humiliated so they would let him play.”
“I have learned to chat with Martin,” Fakhry explained. “The more he talks to me the better I understand what he is going through, and what his needs are so I can help him.”
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST BULLYING
This episode also included the testimony of a young girl, Amy, who was being harassed by a boy in school. As Amy was chatting with her friends, a boy came up and told them not to talk to her because she is an idiot. She asked him not to call her an idiot.
A few days later he came up to her again and made fun of her friend, and again she rebuked him. When he tried bullying her for the third time, she threatened to tell the school headmaster. The boy never bothered her again after that.
ADVICE ON HANDLING BULLYING
Speak up also featured a guest counselor Dr Alba Morga, who offered advice to viewers to help fight the epidemic of bullying. Dr Morga advised parents to engage in conversation, play with their children, and encourage them to talk about all their issues.
SAT-7 programs like Speak Up are essential for modeling Christ-like relationships, tackling violence, and changing the future for children in the Middle East and North Africa. You can continue to inspire change in the region today.