PS: I must give the long post ahead warning here…
As I have repeatedly mentioned on this blog I have never ever been a thin person… never been as fat as I am right now too but never ever thin not even in school…. And as far as I remember as long as I can remember I have been called moti… in school, in college, by friends and unknown people alike… ofcourse the friends called it with love and affection and just a little bit of teasing that’s it…. But can I say that for everyone who called me the same…. naah… and then there was my stupid name which by default made people call me “Monika, oh my darling” (oh how I hate that song but that’s a separate post)… All in all I grew up being bullied a lot in school and the people who knew me in school refuse to believe that I am same Monika….in school I was not the girl I am right now… never knew how to stand up for myself… and the life of party which is used for me now that could certainly not be used than….
But why am I telling you all this today, because I read a book that made me remember it all… I recently finished reading Nineteen Minutes by Judi Picoult (this is not a review though it does discuss the book to some extent, if you want to read a review of this book go here to Bond With Books where it has been done very well by Titaxy) Its a book about a child named Peter who shoots down 10 of his school mates because he really couldn’t tolerate the bullying he had been subjected to all his life. The book as all Judi books is very well written but is deeply disturbing, at times it made me so depressed that I actually had to keep down the book for a while and do something else to distract my mind… I cried a lot in the book… I could almost feel for Peter so many times… a elder brother who is a school hero… does everything right, excellent in sports and he a weak small boy who can hardly about manage things and the thing he is good at (how predictably computers) no one wants to bother about…. How will it feel to be like Peter to be bullied every single day for 17 years of your life and that made me repeatedly go back to my school time… the bullying ofcourse was not so bad, I had some nice friends too and I guess I was a little sane to dealt with it too and hence I didnt end up killing people ;-) but think of a person who is not strong enough, who doesn’t have support…
Somewhere in the book there is a statement made by a psychologist
Did you know that a single incident of bullying in childhood can be as traumatic to a person, over time, as a single incident of sexual abuse
Shocking? It was to me too… may be the statement is a little exaggerated yes but it does hold some truth, the childhood memories do have the deepest effect on us…. It goes ahead to state
Ask ten people, and half of them won’t be able to remember something concrete from high school – they’ve blocked it out. The other half will recall an incredibly painful or embarrassing moment… They stick like glue
Most of us grow up and realize that in the grand scheme of life, these incidents are a tiny part of the puzzle….
And the ones who don’t?
They turn out like Peter
How very depressing and this made me think of this situation from a mothers perspective… What would I do if my child is bullied in school or anywhere for that matter, how would I deal with it? In what way would I stand by my child, how will I teach him that bullying happens, how will I teach him how to face and not let it eat him….
The more I thought about it the more it made me uneasy of the current circumstances around me… Now the people who know Ojas, know that he is extremely soft guy… I have never seen him shout on anyone (apart from me that is ;-) )… if there are guests coming over at home and they have kids, he lets the kids play with his toys even if they don’t let him play with his own. I have never ever seen him snatching a toy from anyone’s hand and I am not saying because he is my child… I am saying this because its the truth… He takes his sand toys to park every evening and I see kids coming and snatching it from his hands and he coming up to me and saying mumma I want my toys… at times I tell him go ask and at times when the child is too big I ask them to handover it back to him… A part of me wants him to learn to deal with this on his own, in his own way and a part of me shouts “Are u mad, he is your child stand up for him”
Even this is fine as I am sure somewhere he will learn to deal with this… but than there are aggressive kids, kids who are naturally aggressive… there have been atleast 3-4 times I can recall when a child has tried to hit him without him doing anything or may be just wanting something… and he doesn’t say anything back to them just comes back to me. What has surprised me in these situations is the reaction of the parents, none of them said anything to their child when this happened and that shocked me. One of them was very sweet and called me back later saying that she didn’t want to say anything in front of others as she would have throwed a tantrum…. though I was glad that she atleast noticed but does it help my child…not really……. There was this one time when the mother saw that kid has hit Ojas… acknowledged “oh maar diya” and then went on with her usual tasks….
As a rule I never say anything to anyone else’s kid… but if situation like this arise what choice do we have as parents here?
I am not complaining about the parents here, they might be giving a good lecture or explaining to their kids later that this is not good… They have their own parenting methods that work for them…. but does it help my child? Does it help him seeing that when he is being hit we are all just standing and doing nothing? What does it really teach him that this kind of behaviour is ok to tolerate? that bullying should be taken silently Or may be slowly learn to hit too because no seems to mind it?
But what do I teach him here, to hit back? That’s not right too?
What do you do in situations like this? Do you stand up for yourself when you are getting bullied (there is a diff in mild teasing and bullying and yes I understand that)…. Do you stand up for ypour child? How do you teach your child to stand up for himself….The more I think of it the more confused I become… I hope somewhere I am able to find a solution that will make him realise that yes he has to stand up for himself without really losing his own self.
PS: friends if you are reading this post and thinking that you have been talked about as parents… please be assured that I have no shikayat from you… this is not a post to crib about you and your child… I love him as much as I love Ojas and I do understand that they are just different… this post is just to find answers for me… For a long long time I had deliberated posting this or not and had the drafts even ready for the longest time ever but than reading that book made me realise that I HAVE TO DO IT… hope you would understand