Does your child seem withdrawn and often unresponsive to the routine conversation?
Have they complained frequently of physical discomforts like headaches, stomach aches or vomiting?Do they suffer from recurring instances of nightmares for the past few nights?
Any one of the above instances might indicate that the child is being bullied, either verbally or physically from some quarter.
Bullying is a fairly common phenomenon a child faces and it can be prevalent even at an age as young as six. Boys often bully using physical threat and actions, while with girls it is more verbal bullying.
- Physical bullying takes the form of aggressive games among children where the bully inflicts physical harm by pushing, hitting the child or threatening to do so. Sometimes hiding or stealing things from the child- like stickers, erasers, pencils etc.
- Verbal bullying may take the form of teasing, taunting or name calling. A subset of this type of bullying is relation bullying which is the isolating the child from their peer group and activities, humiliating the child by making the child do things for the bully- like carrying their school bag, etc.
The worst part about bullying is that it is a repetitive action and the victim tends to live in fear as to when the bully will strike next. It lowers the child’s self-esteem and makes the victim feel guilty.
However appalling this might sound there are certain simple things that the child can be taught to do to deal with the situation.
- “It is not your fault”. No matter what the bully says or does the child should not feel it is their fault in any way.
- Emphasize the wonderful qualities the child has and engage in activities that showcase them. For example, if the child enjoys painting, indulge in some parent-child painting activity that can be displayed in the house.
- Tell the child that the bully is wrong. That the bully has no authority whatsoever on the child and there is no need to do the bully’s bidding. Teach the child to walk away from the bully. This could be the first lesson that the child learns about standing up for them self.
- If the child feels intimidated, ask the child to seek the help of a teacher or an adult as the case may be. You could take the first step and report the incident to the teacher or the parent of the child. This gives the child the confidence that you have taken a serious view of the matter.
Early intervention by the parents is necessary to ensure that there are no long-lasting effects on the child. It is never too early to start a conversation with your child about bullying – it goes a long way in preparing the child to develop a positive and strong approach towards any such forms of intimidation in later life.