Student days are tough, not only because of all those tests and assignments. Tests and assignments were the least of our worries. The tough time I’m talking about is the tough time kids sometimes give to other kids, something which we call bullying.
A majority of us end up facing at least one such incident in our student life. A countless number of children are bullied in India every day, it’s never-ending.
Bullying can cause emotional and/or physiological disturbance. It can also cause physical harm and injury.
Name calling, tripping someone, laughing at them, spreading rumours about them are different forms of bullying.
It can prove to be life-threatening if the person being bullied is emotionally or physically weak. Bullies aren’t from another planet, they are people like us, among us and sometimes it’s even us.
Yes, we can be bullies without even realizing it. We might have brought someone to tears by making fun of his/her weakness.
While it may all have been harmless fun for us, such behaviour must have been highly disturbing and embarrassing for the person at the receiving end because the fun was at their expense.
According to reports, every third child in India has been subjected to bullying in school.
Bullies can be of any size, age, gender and religion. We can’t really define them by their appearance. It is the behaviour of the bully that defines him/her.
What is sad about the bullies is they enjoy seeing their victim in pain (that’s sadism) and the more scared they see others get, the more powerful they feel.
Bullying involves balance of power, and when the bullies can no longer yield that power, they’re bound to feel unsettled. For this reason, bullies stop tormenting the kid who no longer fears them and, in turn, shift their attention to others who might serve as ‘soft’ targets.
Even if you summon all the courage in the world, it won’t be easy for you to tackle a bully who’s larger in size.
I still remember a couple of bullies who were my classmates while I was studying in grade 10. They were excellent specimens of an ideal human body – nearly 6 feet tall with rippling muscles.
They had quite a lot of supporters. Both were quite popular and no one ever wanted to get into a sticky situation with either of them.
Bullies most likely attack those who are alone. You don’t need to skip classes or bunk school for that. Just avoid the places where the bullies are most likely to be found. Our school’s cafeteria happened to be one such place where the big bruisers of our class used to hang out.
We had made anti-bullying committees in our school. It was an effective way of tackling the bruisers.
The Head Boy and the sports teacher remained the supervisors of that committee for a good period of 3 years. After that, the power shifted to the principal. The move started yielding immediate results.
Counselling sessions were held quite regularly. Counselling sessions did not involve scolding people, but instead they focused upon the need to inculcate a sense of understanding among those who were caught bullying others.
Bullies are people like us, they aren’t aliens. The reason they start bullying people is that they need to feel powerful and important.
In our school, they were taught to channelize their energy in a positive way. One such exercise involved encouraging them to shed their ‘anger’ on a football during penalty shootouts. As a result, many bullies were transformed into great kids.
The idea behind the entire initiative was simple – to make the bullies realize how wrong they had been. Running away from them wasn’t the solution. Making an effort to curb the nuisance was our solution. We can say we succeeded to quite an extent.