I came across a young man when visiting our son in a psychiatric hospital who looked as if life had dealt him a nasty deal. He was stooped, seldom spoke and I never saw him smile. His parents told me that he had tried to take his life but fortunately, had not succeeded. His problem? He had been bullied from the day he started school. It took his parents a long time to discover what was happening as the bullies had threatened him with even worse acts if he told anyone at all.
I wonder whether teachers discuss the subject of bullying with their students. This got me thinking because I was tutoring English to children of various ages and wondered how much they learn about coping with bullies.
Do these children know that they are allowed to say ‘NO’ or ‘STOP’ if they feel threatened ?
Fortunately children have cellphones today so they can always consult with a parent when in doubt as to how to behave but never in the bully’s presence.
They must be warned that no one is allowed to touch any part of their body that makes them feel uncomfortable.
They must know that if a bully demands money, they can give it to him/her once, but must tell an adult – either a parent or a teacher. It must not be kept secret.
Most parents warn their children not to go anywhere at all with a stranger.
A child should know that if an adult asks a him/her to keep something secret, it is wrong and they must tell somebody because adults are not in the habit of taking children into their confidence.