We always try to teach our children to kind, and to share, to play gently, and not to fight…
But what happens when others take advantage of these very mannerisms?
When the very qualities you instill in your children, gives others the boost they need to bully them?
Its heartbreaking to hear your child complain about being victimised, and pushed and shoved, to hear how their lunch money was stolen, or to hear that others have been teasing them!
Little Man has been a victim of bullying last year, and we had to have meetings with class teachers and the principal. The school put a few strategies in place, to curb the issue, and it seemed like the chapter was closed… Until recently!
Unfortunately, there has been an incident lately, that while some might not regard as serious, I’m not willing to let it lie, and escalate to the levels it was at last year! So yesterday, we again spoke to his teacher, who is setting up a meeting with the parents of the ‘bully’ To a parent hearing that your child is being victimised, is probably as difficult as hearing that your child is the bully!
At the beginning of this year, we considered sending Little Man for Judo, as a means of self defence if the situation ever arose, but also to help build up his confidence in these situations. He attended a few classes and then decided it wasn’t for him. He didn’t like the physicality of it. I also think that its a bit contrary to who he is as a person. So we were left to find other alternatives, for him to try in an effort to help him. One of the best methods for him has been to scream down the ‘attacker’ by saying things like ‘You’re being mean; Leave me alone; Why are you so nasty; Go away!’
We would role-play, and act out different scenarios at home, and as much as I hated it, it gave him the ability and the right tools to counteract any aggression aimed towards him. By raising his voice and screaming, it would also attract the attention of teachers. He’s also got a really good group of friends who stand up for, and support each other, and I’m very grateful for this.
Unfortunately, at times we need to teach our children to be tough. But we also need to teach them to talk out about injustices. It is mentioned in a hadith:
أَفْضَلُ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةُ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ
The best manner to strive is the word of Justice in front of the oppressive person
(Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, ibn Maja)
So whilst its important for me to teach my child not to have a victim mentality, and allow others to take advantage of him, I want him to stand up for others too! For as long nobody mentions, it can’t be addressed, and will never be solved. This is not limited to school, or childhood, but life in general. When good people say nothing, evil wins!