Cape Town-based model Jethro Jaftha struggled with bullying since a very young age “because I looked different from other children in my neighbourhood” (hard relate). He now uses his fame and influence to speak about the dangers of bullying.
The Civil Engineering student who has worked with big names such as Adidas, Louis Vuitton, and Moncler, has shared some tips with us on how to deal when you suspect your child is being bullied.
The unique look which saw him being taunted and ridiculed as a child is what has made him a sought after male model today, one who you have probably seen gracing the pages of your favorite magazines.
But as a child you don’t know that things will get better, you don’t know that the natural head of curls or annoyingly full lips which has people making mean comments about you, will be trendy one day, all you know is “you don’t fit in” also your accent or lack thereof, would make people straight out laugh at you (Okay I totally made that about me for a second, life long scars I tell you)
I asked Jethro (22) what he did to combat bullying as a kid and he told me that he spent a lot of time alone, turning these negatives into positives. “I spent a lot of time alone, without my friends. This allowed me to get to know myself, my strengths and weaknesses and it helped me figure out my strategy should it happen again. I started building a network of support around me, people who I knew would help me stand up to the bully’s when I couldn’t.”
Jethro’s tips for parents
- The most important is to create and maintain a good dialogue with your children, making them comfortable to share their life experiences with you.
- When your instinct tells you something is wrong, investigate.
- Teach them their worth, so that they can maintain a good sense of self during this difficult part of their lives.
- Teach your kids confidence, this will help them defend themselves.
- Know your children’s friends and activities so you are aware of their surroundings as far as possible.
- Act, you are the adult and kids will always say they don’t want you to do anything, but actually, they need you to.
- Celebrate their differences and individuality.
- Teach them that not everyone is the same, some people will like them, some won’t. Help them accept themselves so they don’t have to seek acceptance from others.
For more on this inspiring youngster (I am at the age where people in their early twenties are youngsters, deal with it) you can follow him on Instagram