Who has not experienced teasing and taunting while growing up? All children experience it at some point of their lives. And is it always harmless? Absolutely not! Teasing can be vicious and has the potential to turn into bullying; especially when it is repetitive and when there is a conscious intention to hurt or harm.
People often think of bullying as a physical act. There are however other forms of bullying that we may be unaware of or may accept as normal.
Verbal bullying (name-calling, threatening), Emotional bullying (spreading rumours, excluding children from social groups, embarrassing them in front of peers) Physical bullying (pushing, hitting, taking possessions) Cyber bullying (Using the internet, cameras, cell phones, texts to form hate clubs, uploading unflattering, embarrassing pictures etc) are different forms of bullying, and are all equally dangerous.
Let’s face it – being a kid is tough and classroom politics can be brutal. Research suggests that children who are bullied tend to suffer from low self-esteem and mental stress which leads to anxiety, depression, trust issues and introversion. The effects of being bullied are often visible well into adulthood and also interfere with normal and professional functioning.
If your child shows significant signs of increased passivity, withdrawal, drop in grades etc, encourage her to verbalize her feelings. Most children do not recount their experiences as they tend to think that it may make matters worse. Books are an effective way to tackle this issue and help children communicate. Read stories about children who are bullied or simply hand over books for them to read by themselves. Children’s books about bullying are often valuable resources at homes and classrooms, as they provide effective tools to help children deal with various such situations. You may also use these books if you have received complaints about your child misbehaving. Young children who bully may not know the impact of their actions. They deserve to be aware in order to make better behavioural choices.
Help children say NO to Bullying with these books. Happy Reading!
HANDS ARE NOT FOR HITTING
Author: Martine Agassi | Illustrator: Marieka Heinlen
Age Group: 1 – 3
Catch them young is a phrase that fits perfectly for the topic at hand. This book helps toddlers understand that hands are not for hitting or hurting. The book focuses on the many positive uses of hands and highlights uses that are peaceful and helpful. It is a great book to encourage children to be kind and compassionate and more importantly to respect each other.
BIG BULLY AND M-ME
Author: Arthi Sonthalia |Illustrator: Sebin Simon
For ages: 7 – 9
Big Bully and M- ME is a clever book that manages to talk about various sensitive topics with a touch of humour. Krish who hates being called Krishna has a speech impediment. This makes him a soft target for Ishaan — the class bully, who never misses an opportunity to irk Krish. Krish’s worst nightmare becomes a reality when he is paired with the big bully and that too to give a speech! A lovely book that throws light on the life of the bully.
MY SECRET BULLY
Author: Trudy Ludwig | Illustrator: Abigail Marble
For ages: 7 above
Monica and Katie have been friends since kindergarten. Monica loves being around her when she’s nice. But things gradually change. Katie is mean to Monica and Monica doesn’t understand why.
Monica is a target of relational aggression — emotional bullying among friends who will use name-calling and manipulation to humiliate and ostracize. Monica is manipulated to an extent where she is led to believe that she is way too sensitive. Unable to deal with the toxicity of their friendship, Monica begins to complain of stomach aches to avoid school. But with little help from her mother, Monica learns to be brave and reclaims power from her bully by confronting her with a conscious effort of not sounding like a bully herself.
CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER BULLY
For ages: 7 above
Author: Trudy Ludwig | Illustrator: Beth Adams
Katie is found teasing a schoolmate and is asked to visit the school counselor. She is reluctant at first but soon understands the seriousness of her actions. She realizes that bullying has not only hurt the people around her, but herself too. After deep introspection, Katie decides to help other victims by writing a diary about bullying and the tactics that bullies use. Confessions of a Former Bully also provides tools that children can use to identify and stop relational aggression.
HOT ISSUES, COOL CHOICES
Author: Sandra Mcleod Humphrey
For ages: 10 above
Hot Issues, Cool Choices is an award winning book with a collection of 26 scenarios depicting various forms of bullying. Each story covers serious and poignant issues, which read from the child’s point of view. At the end of each vignette, the author offers discussion points to encourage children to think about how the situation could have been dealt with in a peaceful manner. All stories in the book are based on true incidents. The book is dedicated to a 12-year-old boy who took his own life as a result of bullying.
Here are 5 more titles that talk about the topic at hand. If you would like to recommend any, please do so in the comment section below.
OLIVER BUTTON IS A SISSY by Tomie dePaola (5- 7 years)
CHRYSANTHEMUM by Kevin Henkes (5 – 7 years)
THE RECESS QUEEN by Alexis O Neil (5 – 7 years)
WONDER by R. J Palacio (9 – 12 years)
BLUBBER by Judy Blume (young adults)