Bullyingis on a rampant rise. Either that statement is true or it is being acknowledged and more openly discussed now like never before.
Bullying is not restricted to schools or colleges. There is a bully in every walk of life – a colleague at the workplace, a co-passenger on the public transport, the neighbor next door, the stranger who cuts through the queue or even a person within the confines of our own home. We deal with one at least every single day.
A few kids rough up a single kid on the playground, a college sophomore gets ridiculed and is isolated for being nerdy, an executive thrusts upon his ideas and behaves badly with coworkers at a workplace, a spouse or a partner imposes a restricted life and threatens to hurt – all of these are classic examples of bullying in the various forms that it exists among us.
But come to think of it, no one is really born a bully. So how does one become a bully?
An infant is the most innocent and purest soul that you can find. A toddler’s ear-to-ear grin and love for life is dangerously addictive. And then a child steps in to the initial workings of life such as a classroom, a playground or any group-learning place.
That is when for the first time you start hearing things such as “He /she is such a bully.” Maybe not in those exact words always, but very often we have heard stories from children on how a classmate got into a fight with them and hurt them, a friend made them play a game they did not want to, someone bothered them on the bus ride to school, teased them or poked fun at their dress, hairdo or lunch.
It begins there in the formative years and then this behavior continues well into the adult life. Bullying does not have to be physical always. The mental ones are even more traumatic. A bully’s end goal is to overpower, demean and make another person feel inferior.
A bully is not born overnight. A child learns by what he/she sees around him/ her. A child’s behavior is a reflection of what he /she is seeing at home, at school and in the society at large. It could be an influence from a book, a game on the PS2 or a movie. It could be the child’s attempt to mimic an older sibling or the confrontations between the parents. Many a times it is a reenactment of the behavior we met out to our children. And sadly, sometimes the child is fighting just too hard to stay away from a label that has been bestowed on him.
Not every child who is aggressive is a bully, not every child who is quiet is shy and timid. The labels hurt them the most. More than we can imagine.
So let’s be proactive and see what we can do to NOT raise a bully. We the parents, the educators and the citizens of this society, we are responsible for watching and keeping a check and help stop an innocent child transform into an arrogant bully.
When our children are bullied, we work hard to teach them to – Stand-up, fight for themselves.
When our children are the ones who are bullying, we need to work harder. We need to find the influence and the reason behind the behavior. We need to stop labeling them. We also need to stop defending them, even if we are in public. We need to stop ignoring and sweeping the issue under the rug. It will not go away. Lets stop pretending.
We don’t want to raise a bully, do we? We don’t, because no one is born a bully.
Written By : Piya Mukherjee Kalra for the #1000Speak initiative to talk about “Building From Bullying” for the month of March.