For over 3 years, my son was experiencing bullying. He was called bad names, threatened, and was excluded from games. It was more of a psychological abuse than a physical abuse. Each year, it was a different bully: one year it was a girl who threatened to kill him, another year it was a boy who wanted to take his pocket money, and still another one it was a boy who called him bad names and asked other children to avoid him. Each bully had a different background!
Bullies come in all shapes, sizes and intellectual incapacities.
Bullies are not all products of abused and neglected backgrounds, according to my son’s principal. There is no rhyme or reason as to why one student gets bullied and the next does not. The tall, the short, the smart, the fit, the less fit: each has the same the chance of being bullied. She was right.
Bullying: The dad’s effect:
“Students whose fathers are involved are far less likely to be bullied,” the principal said. She was right!
For over 3 years, I was in constant contact with the school teachers, principals, educators and all the school staff to help my son go through this journey. It was hard for him and for all the family. My husband was involved too. He did not attend meetings with the teachers or discussions with the therapists. He was more involved in helping my son go through this by raising his self-esteem and teaching him how to defend himself.
Few months ago, one of the bullies pushed my son on an icy ground. He fell on his head. Fortunately, he did not hurt himself! But my husband was so upset that he rushed to the principal’s office and asked for this to stop. The bully happened to be in the principal office and saw my husband. This meeting smoothed things over a lot.
Fathers need to make an extra effort:
“For a would be bully: knowing that there is a dad and that he is often seen in the school, is a strong deterrent”, the principal said. She was right again!
Moms and Dad should work together to stop this!
Moms already attend the school meetings, school fundraisers, etc. Let’s face it: It’s a women’s world! But, by including the father in these meetings, discussions, all the community will benefit! It’s a TEAM work.
Moms already supervise the homework, prepare lunch boxes, organize the children’s schedules, spend quality time with their kids! Fathers do it also but sometimes they spend less time with their children than moms. A new study links father absence to increased bullying. Children’s perception of how much time they spent with their fathers that had the most impact on bullying behavior. What this research shows is that while it’s equally important for kids to spend time with both parents, fathers need to make an extra effort.
I am not blaming fathers because they don’t or can’t spend quality time with their children. Life is not easy: Fathers need to work hard to give food and proper housing for their family. But for the sake of our children, fathers need to make an extra step to help stop this silent epidemic: Bullying.