One of the worse nightmare for a parent is when their child becomes the victim of bullying. It could happen anywhere: school, bus, playground the list is endless. My friend’s 4 years daughter faced severe physical bullying in bus by one of the senior boys. Each day she used to return crying, sometime even with a bruise on her body. That continued irrespective of the presence of the bus nanny. In fact the bus nanny rather than protecting her, used to scold her to silence.
Though my friend was worried but initially she took things lightly, thinking that it would get resolved on its own. (Some time we as a parents are apprehensive of taking rightful side of our kids in the fear of being labelled as ‘overprotective parent’. I myself had gone through this.)
Anyway back to the topic, situation with my friend’s daughter was not improving. Instead it became worse, so much so that her once happy and cheerful daughter was going into a shell. The child who loved going to school, was one of the star performer of her class, became scared of even getting up in the morning.
When my friend confronted the bus nanny she straight away declined anything of that happening in the bus. In the mean time my friend’s daughter, she completely changed from a confident child to a timid one. She was scared of her bus nanny and used to completely freeze when ever she saw that boy. It was then, when my friend had enough, and she took this issue to the school authorities. Unfortunately school was anything but cooperative, blaming entire episode as cooking up of stories. But my friend stood on her ground as she knew that her daughter was not lying. She even showed the feedback of her daughter’s class teacher, which clearly stated that she is a very intelligent and confident child who never indulged in any kind of story telling. At last the respective authority had to accept that bullying had indeed happened, also their bus nanny was at fault for not stopping it. It was then revealed that the bus nanny was also the class nanny of that boy and that was why she was taking his side.
My friend was assured that appropriate action would be taken and the incident would not happen again. Thankfully the bullying stopped there and after a while my friend’s daughter became her usual self. All’s well that ends well. Right.
Wrong, because I think that the situation could have been avoided if my friend would have taken things more seriously. Her daughter would not had to go through all that torture if timely action was taken. So what to be done when we realize that our child is going through any sort of bullying.
- The very first thing that you should do is to have faith in your child. You know your child best and believe me, motherly instinct is never wrong.
- Be calm and positive. Your attitude will be reflected in your child. A confident, positive and resilient appearance can stop bullying from continuing.
- Reassure your child that it’s not his fault. There is still a stigma attached to bullying and some children feel they’ve brought it upon themselves.
- Talk with your child. Create a List of Responses, e.g. Walking away, Acting unimpressed or unaffected. You can also practice phrases your child can use to tell someone to stop bullying behavior. These should be simple and direct, but not antagonistic; ‘Don’t do that’, ‘I’m going to tell your teacher/mother’. But set all these strategies for a short period of time and if things are not improving then please immediately go the concerned authority.
- Last but definitely not the least is don’t think what others are going to say. Sometime we are more concerned with what others would think or how they would react (Happens with me also but I am trying to change). Always remember that your child is your (and your only) responsibility so even if others are not helping in any way or tagging you as ‘over protective or helicopter (nothing to do with the real one!!!) parent’, it is perfectly fine. Your child should not suffer because of your habit of seeking approval from others.
It is important to take bullying seriously and not just brush it off as something that kids have to “tough out.” The effects could be serious and affect a child’s sense of safety and self-worth for years to come.