No More Bullies, Say No to Bullying
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Twenty-nine years later I awakened to the fact that a part of me never healed.
My daughter P, 6, studies in grade 1. Kids, I assumed, at this age are too innocent to be a skilled bully. My myth broke a fortnight ago.
As a mommy, we are aware of most of the things happening in our kid’s life. Yet what happens in school between the friends can be quite deceptive to our eyes.
P was not her usual cheerful self for the past few days. My concern grew when her tantrums lost direction. She threw things in anger and hurt herself and others if she got a ‘No’ for an answer.
As much as I know her, P had learned to decipher her emotions. She kept her feelings in control except for the outbursts that every child this age goes through.
And the day came when she could no more bear the pain she was going through. The minute we reached back home from school P cried. I got scared and my thoughts wandered for fear of something alarming.
When she was calm enough to talk P explained her ordeal. A classmate of hers was eating her snacks and chocolates for past few days. Though I encourage sharing yet the scenario here was blackmailing.
I was shocked to hear that another girl, P’s age, had guts enough to scare my daughter of dire consequences for seeking help in a Maths class work.
There are no exams in smaller grades. So, every week one subject is revised in the class where kids solve sums/questions without consulting the books. The teacher helps kids if they ask or do not understand something.
P mistook the class work for a test and remained in the guilt of cheating. Her classmate took advantage of the situation and bullied her by saying that if P did not give her snacks and chocolates to her she will complain to the teacher that P had cheated in Maths class.
My little girl confessed she was scared of telling me the truth. She thought that I would scold her for cheating.
For a moment I felt I failed as a parent. If my child could not trust me to come to me with her problems, I wasn’t doing my job well.
I hugged her and assured her that I was not mad at her. I appreciated P for realizing that cheating is not good and never an option.
I told her when the next time this girl, the bully, asks P for her snacks, she would refuse her advancements. I explained her to confront her bully by telling her that she had told her mommy everything. Now she was not scared of her and if the need is she would walk up to the teacher to complain about her.
P not only stood for herself the next day but also was back to her joyful self. I also spoke to the bully girl and explained to her that classmates should help each other and not bully them.
As of today, P and this girl have become friends. Every day when I go to pick up P from school, this girl greets me with a big smile.
This incident transported me to my school days. Where P had a smooth ending to her bullying episode and got a chance to start a new friendship, everyone is not that lucky. I wasn’t!
I was in my tweens. I was a very coy young girl, too innocent for the fast-paced world. For two consecutive years (till my school was changed) I went to the school where the teachers thought the punishment was the only solution for every problem.
I, like a few others, was rebuked if I forgot a subject book. I was looked down upon if I could not answer a question. I was categorized as a ‘weak in studies’ child because the pressure of rote learning and competing for grades in class was too much for me to handle. I got scared when the teacher shouted in the class. I dreaded going to school.
I was an introvert. I did not talk much. I had a handful of friends. I was never a center of attraction in the class. It seemed like I did not even exist for most of the creatures I shared the classroom with.
Parents in our times were probably unaware or ignorant that issues like these happened in schools too.
In the failure of being able to give words to my emotions, I made walls all around me that no one was allowed to penetrate. Now when I look back I realize that I was a very tough child to handle.
Of those years the worst memory that I have is of this intelligent boy of the class who made me feel incapable. His behavior towards me had done more damage to my self-esteem than do any good.
He was always rude to me. I was made to sit with him so that he could help me in studies. Rather than helping his undue comments (verbal abuse) and attitude towards me did more harm.
Growing up I hated this boy with all my might. The only relief was he was no more a part of my journey.
I moved on but the little girl within stayed imprisoned in the pain of being abandoned at the most crucial phase of her life.
Now when my daughter was bullied, I taught her to be strong and confident to confront her bully. It was essential to make peace with her situation.
More so it was important, to make myself feel worthy of P’s trust. I would not allow anyone to take advantage of my little girl. Years ago I could not stand up for myself but I will teach P to be resilient and stand up for herself and others.
I also had to make peace with my past. I worked hard and made efforts to forgive that boy who never sought my forgiveness. I admit that it wasn’t easy. But I am glad that after nearly three decades of unresolved ache I was finally free, free from my painful past.
A lot of us have certainly faced bullying to varying degrees. Bullying of no amount and no form, verbal, emotional, mental or physical, should be acceptable. It not only takes away the happiness of your present but also ruins the future of your dreams.
Be aware. Be there when someone is in need of your help. Stand up firmly, for yourself and others against bullying. A bully has only so much power over you as much he can control you.
Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.
Say ‘No’ to Bullying.
About the Author: Born and raised in Gurgaon, the millennium city of India, Prachi Sachdev Mendiratta is a freelance blogger at various platforms. She is a graphic designer, a video editor and a painter by choice. A hippie at heart travelling has been her passion for ever since she remembers. She loves to read books that inspire. She also loves to read books depicting life of people from varied cultures across the globe. Her favourite authors are Robin Sharma, Paulo Coelho and now Jean Sasson, apart from others. Her favorite quote is, 'The Time is Now or Never'.