Once you know our child is being bullied, the natural question that arises is, how can you as parents stop it.
Your child comes back from school, you stand there waiting with a smile on your face and loving welcoming words.
You expect an equally warm response, but what you get is an irritable child, who is in no mood to exchange loving words with you.
You start wondering 'what is it that you have done to upset your child', fret about it and eventually end up distraught.
Does this sound familiar? Could you visualise the scene or are you the one who has recently started facing this?
Well, if you did, don't think you are alone.
There are countless parents who are facing this situation on a daily basis and the root cause of this could be completely different from what you are thinking.
In today's fast-paced world, the way children lead their lives, has completely transformed.
We as parents give them whatever their heart desires, take them on exotic holidays, dine in expensive restaurants and are happy to assume that life is hunky dory for our child.
Delve a little deeper and you might be able to figure out that your child, though superficially seems happy, is actually unhappy.
Try finding out, and what unfolds, might be something you could have never imagined in your wildest dreams -- your child is a victim of bullying.
You might not want to believe it at first, maybe get into a state of denial.
Why? My child is an academic achiever, he excels in every activity, how could he possibly get bullied?
Well, the sad truth is, a lot many children face this problem and it has only gone worse with the digitalisation of the world.
Four reasons why your child is being bullied in school
- Being academically bright
I know many of you will gasp in disbelief at this, but believe it or not, the academic achievers are more often than not, targets of bullying.
Since they seem to be standing out from the crowd and get the attention of everyone, they are eyed as a potential threat by the bullies of the class.
The bullies don't want the attention to shift from them to such children so they try to wreck the confidence of these children and quite often are successful at that.
So, if you have noticed a dramatic fall in the grades of your super achiever child, you might want to check this out.
- Being an introvert
We all know that extroverts find life simple as they can speak up whenever they want.
However, life for an introvert is not that easy.
They mostly like to keep to themselves, and thus end up becoming socially awkward.
Enter the bullies who are on the lookout for a timid child who wouldn't have the courage to report any wrong being done against her/him.
- Physical appearance
This one is high on the probability chart.
Haven't we all had either a plump or an extremely skinny child in the class, someone with thick-rimmed glasses, someone with a lisp or someone with an uncharacteristically different voice?
Do we remember the labels they all got and those labels stuck with them throughout school?
I, for instance, can clearly recall how the plump girls would be referred to as moti bhains, the thin girls as sookhi dandi, the ones with spectacles as chashmish, and so on, the list is endless.
The students poking fun at these students might consider it as harmless fun, but they forget that what is fun for them is tearing someone apart.
Students are unable to cope with this trauma and start having a low self-esteem, which further propels bullying as they start appearing as weaklings who will not put up a fight and voila!
The bullies have their crowning glory.
- Being academically weak
While we just mentioned being academically bright as one reason, ironically, students who are academically weak or have a learning disability are often sneered at too.
The moment they falter while reading a lesson in class, there's a wave of jeers and titters.
Such children are called dim-witted, dull,donkey, and what not. This leaves a permanent scar on their lives.
Once we know our child is being bullied, the natural question that arises is, how can we as parents stop it.
Let's explore some ways:
- Assure your child that she/he is not alone in this problem and you are with her/him. Children always look up to their parents for help and this should be taken care of.
- Affirm that it is not their fault. Children who are bullied often start believing that somehow it is their own fault that they are being bullied. Ensure that you positively counsel your child so that he does not hold herself/himself responsible for being bullied.
- Teach your child ways and means in which she/he can confront the bully. You could teach your child to be firm in his replies and pretend to be unaffected. Phrases like: 'You can keep saying what you feel like', 'suit yourself', 'I really don't care what you say', and walking away from the scene can go a long way in defusing the situation.
- Finally, if nothing seems to work, it is imperative on your part as a parent to bring this to the notice of the school authorities.
As mentioned earlier, bullying is becoming more rampant with the advancement in technology.
What was limited to physical or verbal bullying earlier has now taken the ugly form of emotional bullying. Cyberbullying is on the rise.
Children are being trolled on the Internet and the situation is only going from bad to worse.
Bullying is not normal behaviour. No child, irrespective of any factor, deserves to be bullied.
Bullying is totally unacceptable and there should be no irresolution or hesitation in addressing it.
Lead photograph: Kind courtesy Anemone123/Pixabay.com