Bullying is as old as man and I remember that I hated boarding school because I was a victim of bullying by older students. I must say this – I believe that girls are the meanest bullies I have ever encountered. If you went to an all-girls school, am sure you will understand. I hated school so much that I became reclusive. For some reasons, I have always been born with a resolute, self-motivated mind so to cope with the bullying, I kept to myself but turned into writing. Just last week, I went through all my hand-written short stories and asked myself why I am yet to publish a single book 😀
That was me then and that was more than twenty years ago. And now, my daughter has become a victim of bullying. And I tried to get to the root of the problem by going to her school to find out why she was being a target. I realized that the girls had very silly reasons for picking on her – they didn’t like her athletic build because she’s an athlete so they were body shaming her. They also hated her for her shoes – shoes! I was shocked! They hated the fact that she was liked. As a parent, I was too puzzled to understand why these girls hated my daughter for being herself and even when the school tried to invite the parents of the bullies to school, they never showed up. So that got me thinking and a lot! Are the girls being neglected by their parents and transferring their frustrations on my daughter and other kids? Could there be something wrong with the home? I found out later too that the parents were very busy executives who had little time for their kids as such didn’t find the time to show up in school when the school invited them. As a parent, you would expect that I would be angry with the girls but rather, I felt sorry for them because all I saw were misguided girls who knew no better.
WHAT ROLE CAN PARENTS PLAY IN RAISING EMPATHIC HUMAN BEINGS?
Personally, I believe that if we as parents can dedicate enough time for our kids to teach them to show empathy towards other people and to teach them to be tolerant and accommodating of all regardless of our differences, I think we will have less bullying in school. For me, it is important that my kids respect and accommodate everyone regardless of race, religion or tribe. I am raising my kids to be global citizens, to be humans who are sensitive to other people around them. I teach them about the need to refrain from discriminating other people and I have taught them about the ills and harmful effects of body shaming or making mockery of other people. Perhaps if parents could spend time with their kids and not only teach them but show them how to be kind to people because words are not enough – perhaps this could help reduce bullying in schools. Our kids should learn from us and see how kind we are to others so they too can learn from us. In my house, my husband and I try to live exemplary for our kids because that’s the best way to teach kids.
I also taught my daughter not to hate her bullies but to pray for them. I don’t think we can completely root out bullying even with punitive measures set up by school administrators because the solution goes beyond punishment. I believe that we as parents have a role to play in teaching our kids to be kind to others and that schools need to dedicate time to teach kids about kindness as well and to build their curricula around character building as well.
What is your take on this? Has your child ever been bullied? What did you do? What do you think we can do to help the situation? Am happy to hear from you so please leave a comment.