Schooling is considered as one of the most important experiences of childhood, which shapes the rest of the life. Schools play an important role in expanding a child’s knowledge repertoire but also enables social and emotional development. From a developmental psychology perspective, schooling is one of the key influence to our development. Therefore, it is crucial for the school setting to facilitate the same.
However, despite of such vitality, most of the people recollect school memories in form of negative experiences, such as bullying and peer victimization. A times of India survey has found that, over 42% of children face bullying in their schools.
Bullying can range from physical (hitting and punching) to verbal (name calling and teasing). Only physical attacks do not classify as bullying, other forms of threats and insults aimed to belittle the other person are also counted as severe forms of bullying. The victim who experiences bullying faces enormous issues ranging from academics to psychological, which becomes the reason for deep-seat and long lasting scares inside them.
It is not difficult to identity subtle forms of bullying. The jokes which people crack about others (regarding their looks, weight, caste, sexuality, gender, height and so on) for the purpose of fun, is not funny for the one’s who’re targeted. It exposes their private and sensitive aspects of the self to the public for humiliation. A comment or joke which can be normal for the one who cracks it, but maybe demeaning and threatening for the person who is getting targeted.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to develop such a sensitivity in the developing child. They should be made to realize that making fun of others in a demeaning and threatening way is not humorous and laughable, instead it is disrespectful. Rather, a discourse of appreciating and being kind towards others should be propagated.
However, for such a change, the parents, teachers and the society need to work, as they are also key influences for the child’s behaviour. Children should be encouraged to acknowledge and appreciate the goodness in others and realize the importance of kindness as an antithesis to bullying or teasing.
Noticing and complimenting others’ qualities or characteristics can really change the emotions people feel. It can turn a bad day into a great day. It can put a smile on someone’s face. It can give a person confidence they may not have known they had. Kindness would always accompany your behaviour if you never fail to see the good in others and be respectful to them. To learn more, take a look at what one of the project is conducting in their areas for kindness in schools: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/kindness-project-in-schools
Remember: whenever you try to mock or make fun of someone (especially in front of a child), think twice about the repercussions. There is high probability that the child would model your behaviour in other situations and propagate the act of bullying or teasing for humour (at the stake of someone else’s mental health). Take care of the impact of your act.
Currie, L. (2016). Kindness is Something Students Learn By Feeling It. TeachThought. Reference Link
Nelson, M. (2018). Cool to be Kind: At Schools Across America, Embracing Kindness as the Theme for the Start of the School year. The 74. Reference Link