Together We Can ‘STOP’ Bullying!

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“It was his first day to the new school year. He was super excited as always with his new bag, books, new clothes, shoes and his favorite food Penne Pasta with Tomato Sauce for lunch. He was eager to meet his old friends and his new class teacher. But at the same time was nervous as he was going to a completely new school of which he had only heard about. And so was I. My kid going to a new grade was a proud feeling for me but at the same time makes me realize that he is growing too fast. The day was here and he was ready for school before time. He offered his prayer and we left for school. He was so happy to see his friends at school but the saddening part was, all were in different rooms. I could see that sad feeling on his face but I tried to cheer him saying that they could have playdates. And the smile returned for a while.

The school bell rang and all the kids waved their parents and went to their respective classrooms. And so did my son, he waved me with a flying kiss and said “Bye Mamma.” Now it was hard for me to wait for such long hours till the school day ended. Somehow I kept myself busy and finished my chores so that I could spend the rest of the day with my son. It was time for the school to release, so I left home to pick him. I waited at the meeting point right below his building. I saw all the kids coming out of the class but I couldn’t see him. I got little worried. Each passing minute was making me think more. But at last, I saw him. He wasn’t looking happy at all and somewhere I knew something bad or wrong have happened. As soon as he came down the stairs, I asked him, “What happened?” He said to me in a very low voice that some kids from high grades bullied him during lunch break. I was shocked to hear what those kids asked him. They asked him, “Did you have Sex yesterday?” For a moment, I got shaken. I never thought that at this small age he has to face such things of which he is totally unaware of. The first thing I did was just gave my son a tight hug.” –  An Anonymous Mom

This is a story of a mom who loves her kid the most and just wants happiness around him, just like any other mom. She wouldn’t have expected such things coming to her son who was hardly nine years. The kid morale was down and he didn’t want to return to school from that day onwards. He was scared that they might return to him saying rubbish things and may harm him. Till today we restrict ourselves from using the word sex anywhere in public or not even with family and friends. Kids who might have just entered the teenage years or having enough knowledge of adolescence are not permitted of talking or misbehaving with little kids who have just started seeing the world. It’s very humiliating and heartbreaking. I am sure the mom must have reported the incident to the school authority, and must have re-built the confidence in her son to be strong and fight such circumstances.

A number of kids as well as adults who are bullied every day in some way or the other. One in every 3 school kid is being bullied every day. Bullying is the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally. This behavior is often repeated and habitual. Bullying can be Individual Bullying or Collective Bullying.

Individual bullying: Individual bullying tricks can be executed by a single person against a target or targets. It can be classified into four types: Physical, verbal, relational, and cyberbullying. Physical, verbal, and relational bullying is most prevalent in primary school and could also begin much earlier, whereas cyber-bullying is more common in secondary school than in primary school.

Collective bullying: Collective bullying is done by more than one individual against a target or targets. Collective bullying is known as mobbing. Mobbing refers to the bullying of an individual by a group, in any context, such as a family, peer group, school, workplace, neighborhood, community, or online.

A bully with his/her actions and words can hurt, scare, and embarrass others, just to have fun, seek attention, or show how superior they are. But they must have never thought about the imprint it makes on persons heart and mind. Most of them hardly understand or care about the feelings of others. A small tease can slowly lead to bullying. Bullying can cause stress, isolation, depression, and anxiety. It can lead to decrease in confidence level and they become more prone to illness. Due to fear of bullying, kids start becoming homesick and often give false reasons to miss school. Bullying and depression together can cause suicide.

Bullying is something that can’t be neglected, as it negatively affects the kid’s ability to learn at school. So it must be put to a complete STOP. We, the kids and parents, can together take a step to stop and prevent bullying.

Say ‘STOP’ to Bullying: There are some things you can do if you are bullied. Tell the kid who is bullying you in a firm and clear voice to ‘STOP Bullying’. If you think that speaking is too hard for you or not safe, then quietly walk away and try to stay away. Find the nearest adult to stop the bullying. Bullying mostly happens when adults or other kids are not around, so do not isolate yourself. Stay near adults and other kids.

Talk about it: We as parents should at least spare some of our time for our kids and talk to them about their experience at school. Ask about the best and the worst part of the day, or just ask them what are they excited to do tomorrow. There are different ways to communicate with your kid, just be sure to be his/her friend and not to blame them for anything that has happened. Instead, appreciate your kid for informing you about the incident that happened. Show them your love. Kids should always talk to a responsible adult whom they trust, whenever someone bullies them or they see any other kid being bullied. They can talk to their teacher, the Principal, any school staff, their parents, or responsible people from their community.

Don’t be an audience: Whenever you think there might be some problem with the kids, or you see a scared and frightened kid, try helping them as they can’t-do it themselves. Don’t just walk away as it is very upsetting. Instead, defend the person who is bullied, if it feels safe. Else ask help from an adult who is nearest. Bullies love an audience, as they often care about being popular and powerful. Encourage the bullied kid to talk to an adult. Ask if the person is okay and be friends with him/her. Be nice to him/her. You never know such small gesture could cheer the person.

Monitor your child: Cyberbullying is the fastest growing type due to the increased use of technology. Bullies use technology to send mean, hurtful, threatening, and embarrassing messages to or about another person. It is very important for parents to monitor the child’s use of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Myspace.

Spread the awareness: Increase awareness about bullying amongst parents, teachers, and children with arranging meetings to spread the information as well as meetings for the victims and the parents of the bullies. Let them know the harmful effects of bullying. Speak with school officials and your school board about what policies they have in place and what programs they have implemented to address bullying and cyberbullying. You can check StopBullying to get some more information about Bullying.

Bullying won’t STOP unless we do something about it. We all need to stand together and STOP bullying. We all need a safe school and a safe community for our kids. So let’s take a pledge to raise our voice against Bullying.

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