Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to Tackle a Bully? Read on....

The children are playing with "each other" again... The Bully on the Playground has been beaten :-)

I enlisted the help of a very dear friend, who lives in the same society as I do, and who is a long standing resident of the place. Since I was the "interested party" (my son was being bullied) I spoke to him seeking guidance.

Because I knew that only two things would happen if I approached the bully myself:

1. Having heard his reaction to an innocuous comment I made to the children, I knew that he is not a reasonable man. Moreover, he seems to have scant disregard for basic etiquettes, else he would not have stood on the ground floor of my building and shouted his lungs out.. Expecting him  to be 'reasonable', 'calm' or 'patiently hear me out' were near impossibilities.

2. I also knew that if I were to confront him after our rather unpalatable face-off on the day the incident occurred and found his attitude unchanged, found him unrepentant, or worse still if he were to lash out at me, I would have, in all likelihood slapped him or worse.

I am the mother of an eight year old, who he used cuss words with, bullied on the playground, and also ensured that he was boycotted by his own friends... I sure as hell would not have been reasonable or patient with him. This dear friend warned me that such a reaction would become detrimental to my case and would make him a victim instead...

All he asked off me was to be patient. His only remark, "We'll use yukti (intelligence) not shakti (strength/muscle power) to teach him a lesson." I trust him and held on even as I wrote a letter to the society Chairman requesting his intervention (which hasn't happened so far!) and also got a reporter friend to call the Chairman, since the media was very interested in my story.

While one part of me was seething, because I wanted to make sure he had more than a few broken bones, I also wanted an apology from him for being rude, crass and uncouth, but I let those feelings pass. It was "personal" but it did not become me to make it "personal"... Eventually I wanted to put an end to it because he had no business being a nuisance and ruin the innocence of childhood for the boys.

Meanwhile, this friend, spoke to all the children, who admitted being cursed, abused and intimidated by the bully. They also admitted that the bully had abused me for raising the issue.

Then he spoke to the parents. One by One. He got the parents to intervene, and a general alarm was sounded. Each of the boys was directed by his parents not to play with the bully. For two days, a parent accompanied the boys and played ball with them, making sure the bully doesn't venture close.

It was a coup! Bloodless, at that!

In two days, the bully was boycotted by the group. The same set of boys who were afraid to take my son in to the group, called him and began playing again.

The bully probably doesn't really know what actually happened. All he knows is that the boys, collectively, don't want to play with him around.

He, being the proverbial bully, has moved on to another part of the society, to a group of boys playing badminton.

I am unwilling to let him get away scot free not just because he bullied my child, but because other kids will certainly become his victims if he is not stopped.

As I watch him playing badminton (all-rounder in sports he seems to be...), I am picking the phone and making that important the Chairman, who has my written complaint and whose duty it is to ensure that our children are free to play and grow without adverse influences within the walls of our society.

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