Priyanka Chaturvedi

It's all about me!!My people, my favourite things, my raving and my ranting too!

DNA Column: when your child is the bully

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Recently, I had taken my kids along for a birthday party. When kids start managing themselves at parties, one usually tends to chat with other mums and catch up on kids in general. Most of the times, I have been able to connect with mums who face similar issues like their kids’ eating habits, schooling, how getting them to do their homework is a pain, etc.

So I was taken aback when I met a mum recently who was sitting with us but was busy concentrating on what her son was doing — his dance moves were monitored, his cricket shots were being checked, and a loud shout of cheer went out from her whenever he played well. Yes, I agree I’d do that too, but what I wouldn’t do is defend my child’s every shot even if it was a wrong shot.

She just wouldn’t let the kids play their game without interfering in it all along. This particular mum was unstoppable; she got into scraps with the other 8-year-olds at the party, she would run to her child’s defence if the umpire would so much as suggest that her son was out, and gradually, some mums were also at the receiving end of her ire if they tried to intervene to correct her.

At first I found this behaviour very amusing, but as the party progressed, I realised that her child was the most boorish of the lot, with a very ‘I can never do any wrong as my mum thinks so’ attitude all over him. He got into fights with other kids, he told the birthday boy that he did not like his party and his ‘return’ gift as they were not what he thought he’d get; while all this was on, his mum was a mute spectator not stepping in to reprimand her son for his rude behaviour. I was absolutely appalled and taken aback with the mum. A few mums shared stories of how there are some mothers who refuse to tell off their children even though their kids bully the rest in the garden or at the park. Bullying to the extent of beating up other kids!

What are we encouraging in our kids if we let them get away with being rude to people, encouraging them to cheat at games, telling them that winning is everything whether you do it through fair means or by unfair means? Most importantly, why are we even interfering on how they should handle a situation? Why can’t the kids be encouraged to sort out small problems amongst themselves? What kind of citizens of tomorrow are we raising if we don’t check them today?

Some mums would argue that they would not want to embarrass their child by reprimanding them in front of other kids, and I agree to that. But maybe you can take your child aside and politely let him know that you do not encourage his behaviour, and if it continues it could lead to a punishment at home. I have done this several times and have seen my son fall in line after that. Now he doesn’t need to be told, he knows what is expected of him.

In an ideal world, we would have perfect children and we would be perfect mums. But sadly, it is not the ideal world we are living in. If we don’t tell our child that his attitude towards a person, game or a thing was wrong, who will? By no means do I want mums to stop indulging their children — please do indulge, but with some kind of sense of responsibility would be nice.

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Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

March 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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