Bully. The synonyms associated with this word are tormentor, intimidator, tyrant, oppressor, and many more.
Earlier this week, a beautiful 11 year old child took his own life due to the bullying he was subjected to. He was found by his mother. He hung himself to death. His life barely begun and at the tender age of 11 years, he was stolen of the ample opportunities to live and love life.
Someone has made this child feel so low, that he put himself in a difficult situation to escape a feeling far more difficult. Someone has hurt him so deeply that he lost the will to live. Someone has bruised him so much, that his pain became unbearable. Can you imagine how heavily burdened his little soul was? Can you imagine how many silent tears flowed down his cheeks? Can you imagine how much he ached that he managed to successfully plan a way to end his life.
As parents, siblings and other family members, we should consistently ask our youngsters how they are. We should let it be known that we are there for them. If they complain of bullying once, we should go to their school and sort it out there and then. If our children do not tell us about their experiences we should look out for signs. Here are 10 signs which may indicate that they are being bullied:
- A change in behaviour
- Unwillingness to go to school or faking illnesses
- Disruptiveness or a change in attitude
- Unexplainable injuries
- Torn clothing
- Lost property such as phones
- Change in eating habits
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Nightmares or loss of interest in things they were once interested
There are so many more, and these signs may not necessary be because of bullying, but they are worth investigating.
More importantly, as their caregivers, we should be teaching our children acts of kindness. We should not tolerate any form of bullying, name calling etc. We should be raising our children with compassion and love. We should make them feel that calling names is as bad as saying a swear word. They should not, at any point, feel they can hail an abuse at someone freely, openly or comfortably. We need to stop telling our boys to ‘man up’ and accept that they have feelings too. We need to stop thinking that our boys are tougher than girls and they can fight their own battles. We need to stop being so sexist, narrow and neglectful of our sons! They need the same amount of love, nurturing and care.
As a teacher, I strongly believe schools must take greater action on reports of bullying. Sanctioning must be tougher. I do feel a lot of the time, teachers are blamed for not teaching children certain behaviour, however that is the duty of parents. Parents need to teach their children about compassion. Parents need to talk to their children about not being compliant to wrong behaviour. Sometimes I feel that when bullying takes place, not only do parents need to be informed and called in, but also trained in how to control their child’s behaviour. Unfortunately, I have witnessed a lot of poor parenting. Often the behaviour of these bullies are supported by their parents and justified. Some of them have a difficult life of their own, they have been neglected or abused themselves and they have no support from their parents. These children need to be provided with some form of intervention to remould them into acting humanely and compassionately.
If at any point you feel suicidal, do contact the Samaritan’s 24 hour helpline here 116 123. If you prefer email conversations, we have support workers who can, God willing, provide you with some comfort at Inspirited Minds.
Don’t, at any point, suffer alone. He made you perfect and beautiful, just the way you are. You are a creation of His. Feeling down is normal. Even Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had bouts of sadness. You will come through it. There is always ease mirroring a difficulty. There is always light with darkness. There is always hope in despair.
I hope and pray that He grants those who are suffering contentment, ease and protection. May the soul of this child finally be at peace. May He love him, protect him and comfort him the way he never felt before. May little Asad’s family find peace and comfort in His mercy and may they reach a state of contentment and ease. May this difficult period be filled with His Love and Comfort. Ameen