Few days back I witnessed a familiar incident in the lawn of my housing complex where many kids of age group 4-10 years were playing. Suddenly one of them pushed another kid after some verbal arguments and soon it turned out to be a freestyle wrestling show between those two boys.
One of the boys’ elder siblings of around 12 years of age appeared in the scene and started bullying the other kid. Few other kids also joined the fight and soon it was utter chaos supplemented with loud cries by both the boys. They went back to their respective home and later in the evening we witnessed another round of verbal duel between their parents.
This incident compelled me to think that how would I react if my child is bullied or hit by some other kid. Even for that matter how should I tackle those incidences if my child gets involves in these kinds of fights. Although at present she is too small but within a couple of years I have let her play with group of kids in my neighborhood. I can teach her not to hit others but what if this result in her getting bullied repeatedly.
Kids are generally taught to report these incidents to teachers in school & other adults when at home but I have witnessed that after sometime even people other than parents discourage the complains of the child and other kids might brand them as ‘cry baby’. Also, there would be times when no adult is nearby then the course of immediate solution remains translucent.
However, telling her to retaliate back instead of being a mute victim might encourage her to consider violence as the only option to get their way in case of conflicts, which is something I would never want her to learn. On the other hand, I would like her to understand from a tender age that nobody can infringe her physical safety and she has to be vocal about the protest. A loud ‘NO’ might deter the bully as generally timid and non-protesting kids are picked up as soft-targets.
Sometimes the problems with these incidents linger beyond the visible physical blows as the child captures many underlying psychological messages which sculpture their persona. I read some apt lines with respect to this issue about explaining the child the concept of aggression. Make them understand that it is not their fault if someone else is behaving aggressively with them and they can always choose not to befriend those bullies. I know this is quite perplexing but the fine line of difference between aggression & assertion is required to be drawn from early age.
Sometimes, we as parents need to step in or out as per the need of the hour. Involving in every fight and argument of your kid might seclude your child from the peer group and he/she would always tend to be dependent on others to fight their own battles. However, contrary to this to make them feel the presence of your support in their life is also necessary. So, ninety percent of times parenting is like walking on a tight rope… Isn’t it?
Nibedita Bose is an ex-Team Manager and now a SAHM trying to sail through the changes of life. A mother of a 1.5 year old who loves to read & blog.