BEWARE OF BULLIES
In a real life incident, a third standard girl refused to go to school on a particular Monday morning, complaining of stomach ache, parents both of them working had to leave her at home in care of grandparents, luckily for the girl she had someone to take care of her, otherwise imagine the plight of parents who are leaving their children at crèche after school or they have no one to look after the school going young ones. This didn’t happen for a day, the girl complained of head ache the next day and refused to go to school for three days. The anxious parents tried to talk to her and asked her slowly what happened at school? if the teacher scolded her for anything, did she fight with her close friend, did anyone say anything to her, ultimately did anything else happened at school? The small girl refused to answer her parents, but when her grandparents cajoled, pampered, playfully asked questions what are her plans if she doesn’t want to school anymore, all these leading questions gave the answer that everyone waited for. “She was bullied by her close friend, physically, who hit her with her might, though playful from the friend’s part, this small girl found it offensive and was scared to share with her parents, fearing that her parents might take up the matter to school teachers, the close friend and her parents, concerned”.
Now the matter which we will have to look into, is the constant bullying by one boy by another, or one girl by another, leaving the parents clueless about their child’s erratic behaviour all too sudden and hopeless at handling them too. One of the main job of parenting is protecting your child against bullies. When your child comes home crying or upset or giving lame excuses for not to go to school as earlier mentioned, it’s simply someone else’s behaviour which can frustrate the child and the parents too. With these incidents happening very frequently in schools, it’s become important for the parents to know, aware of the type of bullying, differentiate the types of bullying, to help you to deal and handle these situations with better understanding, manner and also help your child with these sudden fear syndromes.
In the student counselling pattern, psychologists say and opine that there are four most common types of bullying the parents must be aware of, so that they would know how to deal them, as they need to be educated, forewarned and well prepared for their children’s tantrums.
First comes the PHYSICAL BULLYING, this is one of the most common type of bullying done in schools. This is often done by a boy who is bigger in size, strongly built, tries to intimidate the weaker one by his size, physique and strength. This is usually done by acts of hitting, kicking, punching, tripping, blocking the way of the weaker boy and even pulling the hair of a very soft natured boy. This physical bullying would also involve touching in an inappropriate way. This being the most identifiable bullying, the parents should watch out for unexplained bruises, cuts, blackened blood spots in any part of the body, as the kids seldom ever tell their parents about what they are going through. This explains my article’s beginning example, if your child refuses to go to school very vehemently and has unexplained stomach aches, headaches, it is time you probe deeper or read the situation more, than what meets the eyes. Do not ever ask them straightaway, as they would not come up with a straight answer as they would feel it as their personal defeat in school fights. Instead strike a normal conversation, parents can also tell their child how they were bullied when they were young and how they dealt with the situation then. Always have an open conversation and instead of taking these subtle matters into one’s hands, try and enable your child to deal it on his/her own. But do keep in mind that, if repeated bullying incidents occur, the parents must definitely alert the class teacher and the principal of the school. Such incidents may be small or trivial from the parents’ angle but for children it’s very big and fearsome too.
The second type of bullying can be the VERBAL BULLYING, unlike the physical bullying, the verbal bullying involves using hurtful words, statements, name calling, threatening. These cruel, harsh, comments are made with the ultimate aim of hurting someone. The comments made, include insults on someone’s appearance, sex, religion or even the way they behave. This bullying also includes mocking, the way someone talks, gestures, gait, mannerisms, articulation. Unlike Physical bullying, the verbal bullying is not easy to identify, recognise, but there are lots of silent signs and symptoms that can pinpoint towards it. Once a victim of verbal bullying, the affected child, would start suffering from low-esteem, resulting in withdrawal symptom. He or she may also become really moody and sensitive too. To help your child overcome this type of bullying, the parents need to in still confidence in their children so that they should also know, that they deserve to be treated well and be respected. If things get worse or out of hand, the parents can always talk to the school counsellor and look at better ways to deal with verbal bullying. First and foremost, teach your children, to stand up for himself / herself instead of teaching them, to merely ignore the comments or have a doormat attitude to give in to the bullies, to tread on them all over.
The third type of bullying which is very life threatening to the children is the, CYBER BULLYING, they are the hardest to spot, identify and probably the most dangerous one. Young children and teens commit suicide in the name of so-called challenges, including blue whale, momo challenge, is a proof in itself that, internet can be a dark and an unforgiving place. Cyber bullying can include anything from making threats online to sending hurtful and scary texts and emails. The duty of the parents is to closely monitor the amount of time their children spends online. They also need to notice if the child is up on odd hours or spends an excessive amount of time online. The parents should notice if the children have trouble sleeping or has stopped playing outside, that is any change in the normal behaviour pattern. The ways the parents can protect their children from this bully is to, they need to strengthen the internet safety of their house. Set a time-limit on online activities that the kids can indulge in every day. Parents should block potentially harmful websites before handing over any smart device to the children and keep a check on their online activities to stay prepared for any untoward incidents. Talk and make the children understand about cyber bullying and ensure that they can inform whenever someone is bothering them. Parents also should teach children to block anyone who is bothering them straight away.
The last type of bullying is RELATIONAL BULLYING, which can be basically sneaky, shrewd in nature. That is, it involves excluding someone from being a part of the group, manipulating their reputation, spreading nasty rumours about a child in the group. This type of bullying generally happens anywhere, be it at lunch table, playground, classrooms. This bully often used by children dependant on his or her status in the group, with only aim to demean, dominate someone else in the group. By paying attention to how a child interacts with his peers this bully can be identified. If the child has become a loner, does not want to indulge in social activity, it would soon land him becoming anti-social and could mar his ability to interact with other students in school, college and forever, if this is not recognised and given the right remedy at the right time. Therapists suggests, encourage the parents to have a very healthy discussion with their children about their day’s happenings. Bring in routine itself to indulge in conversations about how they are feeling about themselves and what makes them happy. Parents should encourage their children to have, follow their hobby pursuits and develop their talents. It’s the bullies who are the ones, who require timely help because of their insecurities.
“ITS OUR DUTY TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM BULLIES, BY BEING VERY UNDERSTANDING FROM THE PARENTS SIDE AND THE CHILDREN SHOULD BE TAUGHT TO HANDLE THESE BULLIES WHAT EVER, FORM, TYPE THEY FALL INTO. TEACH CHILDREN TO HANDLE THEM, WITH CONFIDENCE AND BRAVADO, THAT THEY DON’T FALL PREY TO THESE BULLIES”.
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE.