‘MY SON IS BEING BULLIED AT SCHOOL’

Bobby Das
Saturday, 17 February 2018

My 12-year-old son is going through a tough time. He is a little timid by nature and is being bullied by his schoolmates. Recently, he was sexually assaulted by some of the boys. When we tried to talk to him about it, he said, he wants to murder the boys, which we thought was an angry outburst. He is usually reticent and does not really open up too much with us. We are planning to take him to a counsellor but going by his nature, he might not open up in front of the counsellor either.

My 12-year-old son is going through a tough time. He is a little timid by nature and is being bullied by his schoolmates. Recently, he was sexually assaulted by some of the boys. When we tried to talk to him about it, he said, he wants to murder the boys, which we thought was an angry outburst. He is usually reticent and does not really open up too much with us. We are planning to take him to a counsellor but going by his nature, he might not open up in front of the counsellor either. How do we deal with this dual challenge of helping him overcome his timidity and also the ramifications of the sexual assault element?

Ok…… you seem to be having quite a handful on your domestic plate at the moment. So let us first prioritise things according to their level of ‘complexity’, in terms of the current mental state of your child and the possible effect of the incidents on his psyche.
It is a no brainer that the subject of prime importance is the prevalent bullying that your child is subjected to by his classmates. The sexual assault, shocking to say the least, is an avoidable burden on an already serious issue. This calls for a firm and effective action on your part. Ascertain the facts of the case from your son. Ensure that you have all the necessary details to confirm that it is not a cooked up story told by him to take revenge for all the bullying and intimidation.
After having convinced yourself that it is a genuine assault of a sexual nature, you must immediately fix an appointment with the school’s principal. I am asking you to be doubly sure as I am a bit apprehensive of the fact that a timid boy would actually spill the gory details of such an act which is embarrassing and humiliating, to say the least. Usually kids of his nature suppress such information for fear of ridicule. If true, these kinds of unfortunate acts have a rather detrimental and long lasting effect on a boy’s personality well into adulthood.
The principal, after being apprised of the situation, should be requested to conduct a time-bound inquiry into the incident and inform you of the steps being envisaged to ensure it does not re-occur. Schools usually like to brush these things under the carpet as it hurts their reputation, if the same is leaked to the outside world, and its future business prospects.
If you see a nonchalant response, you might want to change schools and pave the way for a fresh start for your child. Simultaneously, work on the ‘timidity’ issue which has often to do with faulty parenting. An open and transparent atmosphere within the family where the child is encouraged to share his thoughts and feelings, would probably ensure that remedial measures are taken before situations get out of hand.

(The writer is an image consultant and corporate trainer. If you have queries for him, send them to features@sakaaltimes.com)

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