Recently I have been coming across too many instances of kids being bullied in school.
Today I am addressing the younger lot between three and ten who may have a hard time expressing their plight or their experiences and how as elders we can reach out to them.
I have also posted at the end of the feature, an interesting link of how older children can prevent being intimidated in school.
For me the definition of bullying is just not limited to a big kid pushing a smaller one or even two kids punching each other. For me it is about the bystanders, teachers, Principals and elders who don’t address it or take a strong stand on it.
I remember as a nine year old child I always stood up to a bully who bullied others. Luckily nobody bullied me, maybe because I was over confident as a child but that didn’t stop me from protecting the dark horse or the timid goose.
Recently one of my friends adopted son at eight came home crying one day, “my teacher said that I don’t belong to you.”
I was appalled. Not as much as the mother of course. When the mother addressed it with the School Principal, she was told that nothing of that sort ever happened. Blunt Denial!
The Chapter at school ended there, for my helpless friend couldn’t pull out the child in the middle of term but it was her prerogative to break this piece of information to her child gently and slowly and no one else’s business. It was too late.
The questions and the sleepless nights that followed were horrifying for the parents.
Another instant where a friends six year old came home from school one day howling that she didn’t want to live because the kids at school teased her about a skin condition. The mother had to change her school at once; she couldn’t risk making the child lose her morale and her innocence at such a tender age.
When I asked what the teachers said, she said nothing! In Fact they had also isolated her in class from games and workshops for the same.
This is my conclusion, that when one kid attacks another physically or verbally asserting his superiority, it is the role of the teacher or an authority figure to immediately intervene and nip it in the bud.
If the teacher is indirectly involved which means not pulling up the oppressor, keeping silent, nagging or taunting the child in class or being indifferent; she or he is an equal participant.
In this case waste no time in pulling them up and the parents of the violator. Playing the good guy or the timid one will not serve you or your child any good.
When parents take admission in a particular school it is not the school doing them a favour, rather the parents giving their prized possession in the hands of strangers in the hope that they would create something more beautiful than he or she already is.
Schools are here to bring the best out in your children; they are the bridges to their adult life.
I would not say that all schools are like this or that; or it is this simple ; for I am aware it is almost impossible for a given teacher to monitor each and every child in a class of thirty and more, all the time but one can prevent it from taking a turn for the worse.
Here are some of the ten things I have collected from parents of children who have been bullied one time or the other, that may help in tricky situations like these :
- Stop laughing at it or making light of the situation when it happens. Don’t ridicule him or her for being shy or inactive. Teach the child to take a stand. It may be to call upon other friends for help, alert the authority in charge and show courage.
- Believe your child when they tell you. Always believe your child! Children lie but they are not liars!
- Address it immediately with the said parent of the child or the teacher involved.
- If a teacher is nit picking on your child constantly, approach her and understand her point and then say yours. If after that it still continues, take it up with a higher authority.
- Don’t be afraid to put it on paper and hand it over. That way there is no confusion in what you expect from the institute and what measures you plan to take, if it happens again.
- Talk to your child everyday for fifteen minutes at least. Seek to understand how it may be affecting them. Do not disregard the child’s role in it; chances are he may have set the ball rolling…
- Bring forth your point in a kind and justified manner, rewarding him for good behaviour and reprimanding once in a way for disobeying. Make sure it is not in public. There is nothing worse than public humiliation. It is as bad if not worse than being bullied by his/her peers.
- Make sure he or she can tell you anything and everything. Do not punish them for being honest even if it is for something you don’t agree at all. Later you can tell them right from wrong. Listen. Don’t judge. Confident children are less likely to be bullied.
- Make sure he or she is in a positive conducive environment of praise and encouragement, tip off relatives and close friends to pat the child on the back once in a way even if it is for something small as drawing a flower or scoring a goal. Keep him surrounded by healthy play dates and same interest groups that enhance his/her self esteem.
- Avoid bullying tactics with your spouse, your other kids, your siblings and at home. The child has to feel that the behaviour is unacceptable in any situation at any stage in life.
Check out: https://nobullying.com