Bullying is a real problem in India and all over the world. Here are some tips on how Indian parents can recognize it, and address it.
When should you suspect your child is being bullied?
- Makes excuses about not wanting to go to school - the headaches, and pains increase in frequency
- Disturbed sleep with bad dreams, nightmares and talking in the night
- Seems depressed, unhappy and shy
- Loses possessions frequently
- Comes home with obvious signs of bullying like dirt on clothes, frequent scratches, bruises and wounds etc.,
- Academic performance drops and interest in studies wanes
- Does not talk much about his friends
- Gives vague answers about activities in school
What should you do if you suspect your child is a victim?
- Have a gentle encouraging conversation with your child. Ask them what is going on. Don't expect to admit it immediately. Children may be ashamed of being bullied. Be gentle and do not force them to talk. If they admit it, tell them clearly that they did the right thing and that they are the not to blame.
- Talk to your child's friends or ask their parents to ask their children.
- Talk to your child's teacher. Make it clear that you want the school to investigate the situation thoroughly. Do not accept excuses like "Children will be children"
- Once confirmed, have a conversation with the school and the parents of the other child. Ask for clear cut steps on what all parties will do to end the situation. Often, other parents may find it difficult to accept the fact that their child is a bully. Ensure that the school acts decisively and makes it clear to them what steps are necessary. You should not have to carry that burden but if necessary you must.
- Keep following up with your child, the school and the other parents
Also see our article on what bullying does to the victim