Why bullying habit in children needs to stop

Parents and teachers need to take note of bullying habits and victimised behaviour among children for early intervention.

A six-year-old in Hyderabad was recently beaten to death by a boy two years elder to him, who later seemed to be in a state of disbelief when he asked, “What do you mean he died?” This incident demonstrates how quickly the act of bullying can get out of hand and that it is a tumultuous journey for a victim as well as the bully himself. Teachers and parents have to recognise a child who is either getting bullied or being a bully, in order to save them.

Sucharita N., a psychologist, says that there are two behavioural changes that one must watch out for. “Children who are getting bullied either externalise their frustration by throwing tantrums and hitting their siblings or become unusually withdrawn and quiet. Those children who become bullies usually come from families where there is serious discord. For example, if a child sees his mother get beaten up, he sees that the one who is beating has more power, and he may do the same at school to someone younger,” she says.

Also a teacher, Sucharita adds that parents take offence when they are told about their kids being bullies. “They feel ashamed and immediately deny the idea that their child can do something like this. They must take it as constructive criticism instead and keep a tab on the kind of games they play and the TV shows children watch. If the child is really enjoying violence and shows no empathy, it is a warning sign,” she says.

Ananya Simlai, a mother of two boys, eight and 11 years old, says that her kids have opened up to her about getting bullied at school, but not everyone may be so comfortable. “It is not about how much time you spend with them but how present you are with them,” she says, adding that creating a comfortable environment for children is very important. Her advice to her children is to walk away from a heated situation instead of enabling it. “It is very difficult to make out when a child is a bully. A parent must keep in touch with the company their children are keeping and repeatedly counsel them,” she advises.

A teacher of the Government High School in Chelapura, Jaya Sudha, has been on both sides. As a parent of a child who is bullied at school, she says that a boy can walk away from a situation for only so long. If the issue is persisting, the authorities must take action. “The energy must be channelised towards something more useful. When I see someone in my class bullying others, I ask them to take rounds of the field or play a sport,” she says, adding that each school should have a psychologist during the school hours. “I couldn’t sleep that night when I heard the news about the boy losing his life. Especially because my own child is in a situation where he is rebelling and saying that he cannot take it anymore,” she says.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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