Bullying is every child’s nightmare. Children both at schools and colleges have been falling prey to bullying for decades. Bullying can not only cause physical harm but can leave deep mental and emotional scars as well.
Bullying, these days, has become common in schools. It takes place among children belonging to any category irrespective of their social or economic status. Your child may face bullying as early as preschool years. Bullying tends to become more intense during middle school and can take a dangerous form during your child’s high school years. Bullying can take place where a group of children meet. It could be at school, a playground, a camp or even at a daycare centre.
A few types of bullying are:
- Physical attack or assault such as pinching, kicking or pushing and shoving
- Harassment based on physical appearance, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation
Impact of bullying
Bullying affects everyone – the ones who are bullied, the silent bystanders, and the bully as well. It has many negative impacts on the mental and physical health of a child.
Children who are bullied may experience:
- Depression and anxiety. They may also exhibit feelings of sadness, fear and loneliness. Their sleep and eating patterns can change and they may lose interest in activities they enjoyed before. Unfortunately, these issues tend to be carried on to adulthood, unless resolved.
- Lack of interest in academics. Children may also bunk school to say away from the bully.
Children who bully may grow up with severe anger issues and are more likely to get addicted to smoking, drugs and violence as adults.
Children who watch others being bullied are more likely to skip school out of fear of being bullied. They also may turn out to be depressed or anxious as well.
Parent’s role in case their children being bullied
The first and foremost thing that every parent must do is to observe your child for signs of being bullied. Some of the signs that your child can exhibit include:
- Damage to clothing or losing personal items and being unable to offer any explanation for the same
- Dislike or fear of attending school
- Change of friends or losing friendships
- Unusually sad or moody, anxious or depressed behaviour
- Complaints of physical pain
- Poor academic performance
Please do take bullying seriously. When you realize that your child is being bullied, do not discourage your child by using the words like “let it go”. Have an open conversation with your child to understand the situation and offer a solution to resolve the problem. Assure your child that you are always there by his or her side and are ready to help.
It is important to teach your child to deal with bullying. Talk to your child, discuss possible bullying scenarios at home and teach them how to ignore a bully or develop a firm strategy to cope up with bullying. Most importantly make your child understand that it is essential to seek help from teachers and friends when they are being bullied or they think they may be bullied.
It is advised that every parent report bullying to the school. Ensure that you get a satisfactory response from the school. If not, follow up is a must to ensure that this matter is resolved. Keep a copy of any emails, messages sent by the bully/bullies as proof should the need arise.
Parents’ role in case of their children being bullies
Every parent should make sure that their children do not end up being a bully. Educate your child about the dangers of bullying. Your child may not understand or recognize that what he/she is doing is wrong, hurtful and harmful. Drill into your child’s mind that bullying others can have legal consequences. Ideally, stop bullying before it starts.
Let your homes be “bully free”. Children tend to learn from their parents. Children should not be exposed to aggressive behaviour or an over-strict environment at home. This will make them more prone to being bullied at school. Be a positive role model for your child. Maintain good relationships with family members at home and with other people outside the home.
Bullying is a real and an ever-present evil lurking in our schools and colleges. It is the responsibility of every parent to educate their child about bullying. Nipping an evil while it is budding prevents it from growing into a venomous tree that produces evil as a fruit.
Come let us join hands together to create a safe and clean environment for children to grow up to be responsible citizens of our country.