‘Bully proof’ kids by building self-worth

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PASIG City, August 27, 2012 – While it is impossible to completely prevent bullying from happening, building kids’ self-worth can be the perfect defense, says parenting experts.

Michele Alignay, a guidance counselor, said parents who are the main builders of a child’s self-worth can do this through verbal affirmation and listening.

“We need to shift our mind from negative to seeing the positive. We need to catch people doing good and tell them,” Alignay, who has extensive experience with cases of bullying in an exclusive school for girls, explained.

Concretely, she said Filipino parents can avoid negative comments when their kids behave well, phrases like, “Himala, nag-aaral ka! Anong nakain mo? (It’s a miracle, you’re studying! What did you eat today?)” or “Bakit ang bait mo ata? Anong kailangan mo? (Why do you seem so good? What do you need?)”

Kids are KSP

Alignay said parents need to spend more time with their kids to prevent them from seeking attention elsewhere, which often makes them a magnet for bullying.

KSP sila.. (They are attention-hungry.) They cannot distinguish between good and bad attention,” she explained.

In a workshop about bullying during the Family Congress 2012 last Saturday, Alignay, together with Maribel and Raf Dionisio of the Love Institute, stressed the central role parents continue to play in helping kids build up emotional resources to handle verbal abuse, intimidation and cyber-bullying.

Relationship expert Maribel Dionisio shared about how she role-played with her son, Raf, to teach him how to stand up to bullies.

Raf said he was bullied for 6 years, starting when he was in kindergarten.


According to a 2008 Asia-Pacific regional study on bullying, more than 16% of Filipino students experience 4 or 5 types of bullying, the highest statistic among 9 countries.

During the workshop, Alignay also focused on the huge, negative impact cyber-bullying has on young people because of the public nature of social networking sites on which a majority of online bullying happens.

Recent statistics by Social Bakers revealed there are 29,100,700 Facebook users in the Philippines, 19% of which are 13-17 years old.

The Family Congress 2012 featured workshops on managing kids’ media and technology use, dealing with loss and separation and the new K-12 systems in schools, among others. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]

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