“Hi champ, how was school today?” I asked my son as he trudged in looking a little sad. He is usually quite chirpy and is forever bursting to let me in on all the minute details of his school day the moment he barges in, but today he looked slightly off colour.
“What seems to be the problem, champ? Want to share?” I quizzed not wanting to be overly nosey.
“Dance sir slapped me on my cheeks. I lost balance and he just slapped me.” He looked hurt.
“You could have tried explaining what went wrong.” I suggested.
“I did. He said he doesn’t want to listen to anything.”
I was a little taken aback, because the school he goes to does not allow physical punishment, especially hitting the kids. Well, my son is not exactly a dancer or even remotely gifted with dancing abilities. He is someone you could call, born with the proverbial “two left feet.” This was ideally his first dancing lesson. There was every chance he might have gone off beat or off step. After he had changed, I asked him if it was only him.
“No, lot of other kids got slapped, hit on the head or back,” he replied.
I felt, that the issue had to be addressed and brought to the notice of someone, preferably the principal. Before that, I spoke to other moms whose kids had taken the beating. A few of them were surprised that the kids did not report it and after speaking to their children confirmed that the incident had indeed taken place. A few moms of senior students also told me that the teacher was a little cranky and all students were hit by him at some point or other. What kind of a jerk indulges in such behavior?
I asked my son if he had talked about it to his class teacher. He had apparently not.
I explained to him that if it is criminal to abuse someone, it is equally criminal to take abuse lying down. I told him that if this is repeated again, he must report it to the principal and class teacher and if they are not found supportive enough, he must come back to me and I would take it forward.
Unfortunately the incident got repeated at the next class too. The best part was that my son promptly brought it to the notice of the principal and was assured that she will talk to the concerned teacher. Whether the issue gets resolved or not, I will have to wait and watch as this is a recent occurrence. And if it has not, I will have to step in. Such practices are better curbed at the beginning.
This might not be a very serious issue, but what came out of this incident is the need to sensitize our kids not to take abuse lying down. There could be so many cases where the abuse is more severe or happens on a regular basis. One of the mothers told me, it’s not a big deal; a slap here and there is ok!!! Really?!! Yet another told me, you never know what mischief the child has been up to! And a third one told me, complaining will get me into bad books with the school staff!!
It shocks me to listen to such responses. Would you rather not trust your child? Would you allow any random person to abuse your child and get away with it? Aren’t you teaching him/ her that it is ok to be abused? Unless you are sure your child is a mischief monger, don’t label them thus! Don’t let anyone leave scars on indelible minds just like that!
Here are some tips to handle such situations-
- You know about your child better than everyone else. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
- Listen to your child. Trust him if he says there’s a problem.
- Keep communication lines open. Don’t subdue their voice with a generalized opinion or tell him that it must have been his mistake. Talk to other parents and kids if need be and get the correct picture.
- Encourage the child to report abuse in any form. Unless he has your support he will not have the courage to open up.
- Don’t bow down to pressure. Don’t bother about others having a bad opinion about you or your child, if it is not your child’s mistake. In most cases, everyone knows about it, but no one has had the guts to complain before. No wonder such abusers go scot free.
These things may appear insignificant, but look at the damage you will do to the child’s psyche as he grows up. When these things happen over a long time, the child loses his confidence. He might become withdrawn and cocooned. He will grow up thinking it is ok to be abused, and it is no use complaining, and slowly that attitude will become a part of his life. Don’t let that happen. Nip such things in the bud and help your child help himself and face the world bravely.
My name is Shubhangi Srikanth and I write under the pen name Titli. I started my blog “the little princess” and it helped me channel my thoughts in the proper direction.
After having worked for more than 12 years in the Pharmaceutical and Banking sector, I now freelance as a content writer for medical and health websites. I have two adorable boys, who have taught me more about life than I could teach them. Being a mother is one of the most fulfilling roles of my life, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!