Lead Trainer Andrea Chan: How Being a Victim of Bullying Shaped My Life
I used to be a victim of bullying. He kicked me, hurt me and taunted me. I just sat there and cowered in fear, cringing whenever he kicked. All my classmates thought it was a joke. I didn’t dare to tell the teacher because I didn’t want to be singled out or punished. I didn’t dare to tell my parents because I didn’t know how to, I didn’t know what it was and I was afraid that they would scold me for it.” This happened in kindergarten.
As I grew up, I began to leave this past behind. Or so I thought. With the recent school bullying video that surfaced on social media, there were endless questions like, “How could the boy hit his classmate?”, “Why didn’t the others stop him?”, “Why did the boy allow himself to get hit?”, etc.
Amidst all these discussions, it got me thinking, it got me reflecting, it reminded me of that past. And it suddenly dawned on me that it is probably that incident that has shaped the way I lived my life all these years.
I grew up being extremely insecure, having really low self-esteem, and kept wanting to please. I used to think that I was lousy, incapable, untalented, ugly, unpopular, and the list goes on. I would look to friends around me and wish I could be like them; I wished they would like me and accept me into their circle. Thus, I worked hard to please people around me – friends, teachers, parents, neighbors, whoever. Just for their affirmation, for their acknowledgement, for that nod of approval. It was so I know they would like me enough not to inflict any form of pain on me.
I wished my parents did ask about my day, not just what I did, but also what my friends did to me. I wished my parents told me stories about bullying, educated me on what it was, and assured me that it wasn’t my fault, that I need not be punished. I wished my parents saw those little bruise marks and probed further. They probably didn’t think that anyone would hurt their little angel. They probably didn’t know that their princess was so cowardly that she could neither fight back nor tell an adult about it. They probably didn’t expect that the tremendous amount of love they gave could hardly erase this nightmare from their little girl’s memories. Not one bit.
To parents with younger children, I urge you to make sure your child does not grow up having the above wishes I had. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
To parents with older children: We may think that they do not need nor want our love and support, but they do. They need it so much more right now. A pat on their back, a quick hug (even if they squirm away), a reassuring smile or little words of affirmation. It builds them up stronger than what you would ever imagine.
Now, how would you ensure that your kid is not the bully instead? Stay tuned…
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