It is with great regret that I begin this column today.
An emotional letter we received last week from a young reader in response to my article on bullying shed light on her bitter experiences at university, where she was torn apart and left helpless because the culprits were from privileged families with political influence. I was concerned about two things: the fact that the university management had not taken timely action and the fact that the student, even after years, had not overcome the ordeal.
It makes me wonder: How seriously do we take our children’s complaints about the kind of treatment they receive from people at school and elsewhere? And how do we respond to them?
Rough behavior in young children is not uncommon, as they still have many domestic tantrums that they bring with them to school. It often manifests as pushing, shoving or pinching those who are shy and, if left unchecked, will give them a sense of dominance over those who cannot resist or challenge them. It is a natural human tendency to find satisfaction in exercising power over others, and only if those who are subjected to abuse communicate this to their parents and teachers and, more importantly, if wayward children are reprimanded, can they be prevented from doing so. this continues to grow. into a greater threat as they grow.
But then again, how many times do parents or teachers take children’s complaints seriously enough to take corrective action? Of course, young children tend to exaggerate and many of their complaints may be less graphic than they think, but we must pay attention. What they make sound like a mountain could just be a mole, but even that is pretty bad in this scenario.
Don’t dismiss children’s complaints as silly complaints; don’t ask them to ignore or endure the abuse; don’t make them feel guilty for being a sissy; Don’t hold them responsible for the actions of others. Hear. Listen patiently to what they have to say and use your parents’ reasoning and intuition to evaluate how true their words are and offer them comfort. Address their fears and concerns by promising to take it up with anyone and promise them that they are safe under your wings; that no one can harm them when you are there.
Parents (and teachers) are their emotional refuge and support. Whether it’s our seven-year-old telling us that someone “did something bad to him” or our teenager telling us that a classmate bullied or hit him or a 20-year-old in college complaining about discrimination and victimization by teachers or peers students or a married daughter who narrate incidents of harassment in her husband’s house, pay attention and promise to protect them.
We don’t expect the world to always be kind and forgiving, and we should teach our children to prepare for difficult terrain and fight back, but that doesn’t translate into condoning abuse in any form. We cannot disappoint our children by telling them to “figure it out yourself”; We cannot fail them by dismissing their concerns as fabricated or magnified. Rain or shine, we must hold an umbrella for them.
Only when they are convinced that they have a place to trust, confess, complain, and seek redress without being misjudged, will they begin to trust us as their greatest allies in life. And that trust is the basis of any bridge we want to build between two generations. Until next time, happy parenting.