Union Minister and MP from Amethi, Smriti Irani recently shared a post on Instagram against school bullying. Irani has revealed she had taken down a picture of her daughter from Insta because a boy at her school was bullying her over it. “I deleted my daughter’s selfie yesterday coz an idiot bully in her class, A Jha, mocks her for her looks and tells his pals in class to humiliate her for how she looks in her mother’s insta post,” Irani revealed. “I obliged coz I could not stand her tears.” But she further went on to say, “Then I realised my act just supported the bully,” further adding, “My daughter is an accomplished sports person, record holder in Limca Books, 2 Nd Dan black belt in Karate, at the World Championships has been awarded bronze medal twice; is a loving daughter and yes damn beautiful. Bully her all you want, she will fight back. She is Zoish Irani and I’m proud to be her Mom.”
- Smriti Irani recently called out school bullying in an Instagram post.
- She wrote how she had deleted a photo of her daughter because she was bullied for it by a classmate.
- However she realised that her act supported the bully.
- Sometimes, parents have to stand by their children, instead of standing in for them.
In India, 42% of students of Class 4 to 8 and 36% of Class 9 to 12 said they are subjected to harassment by peers on school campuses, says a study.
When you remove Irani’s stature from this post, all you’ll see is a mother standing by her daughter, and encouraging her to not to give into bullying, because that is what bullies want. Bullying in school isn’t uncommon. In 2017, Times of India published findings of a survey conducted over five years across 15 locations, according to which as many as 42% of students of Class 4 to 8 and 36% of Class 9 to 12 said they are subjected to harassment by peers on school campuses. Bullying has become a major parenting concern and rightly so. A report by NCRB says that bullying leads to issues like depression and anxiety among children. Victims of bullying are at significantly increased risk of self-harm or thinking about suicide in adolescence.
With the rise of social media usage and access, bullying has developed a deep bond with the digital world. Bullies not only use it as a shield to hide their identity and shirk of any accountability for their actions, but also as a weapon they can use to harass kids. Insta photos, social media posts have become yet another means to torment and hurt susceptible peers. And parents have to wrestle with a sense of helplessness.
With the rise of social media usage and access, bullying has developed a deep bond with the digital world.
How do you protect your children from their fellow students? Do you intervene on their behalf, or let them fight their own battles. School bullying is a ruthless wake up call for children about how the world outside their homes isn’t a haven and how not everyone is going to be nice to them. Some would repeatedly put them in misery and all parents can do is switch schools, complain to the school authorities or take it up with the parents or the bully. But little do parents realise that such measures may encourage bullies. They tell them that their actions have left an impact that they have managed to bother their victims to the extent that their peers had to intervene.
If a child is disturbed by the bullying, taking them to a therapist is advised, but there is a lot that we can do at home outside of that. We can show that we are proud of who they are. We can stand by them, and not for them. Bullies play on personal and social insecurities, and as parents, we can try to help our children deal with them in such a manner that these traits don’t bother them much. We have to condition our kids to emulate it to the bullies that their actions don’t bother them, on our own or with professional help.
Like Irani, we must have pride in our children, and motivate them to fight their own battles. But on the whole schools and authorities need to come together to save children from not only being a prey but also from losing all empathy and turning into bullies. We seldom acknowledge the fact that behind every bully is a kid who needs to be saved.
Picture Credit: vagabomb.com
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.