He spent one third of his life in India, one third in Northern Ireland (NI) and the last third in London. He was 6 when we moved to NI and he was one of very few colored children in the local primary school. But, he was happy, coping very well with his school work and having good friendships. I remember he mentioned that his best friend always stood up for him when other kids tried to bother him. One day out of the blue he asked me if I could change his original Indian name to Alan. I laughed it off at the time but now I can see how different he must have felt.
One Sunday morning, after nearly a year of being in the school, he casually mentioned that some girls in his class refused to sit beside him because they thought he was dirty. The next day I went to see his teacher who completely denied the existence of any such issues. Despite my insistence, she remained in denial. Thereafter I made an appointment to see the Principal whose attitude was pretty much the same.
Here is an article that very clearly lays out the bi-directional relationship between bullying and mental health on page 13. It deals with the subject in more detail in the next few pages.
We as parents need to be watchful of our own behavior and that of our kids as children learn more from our attitudes and actions than our words. Here is a related story:
Well, it’s all done and dusted now. He is not coming back no matter how back and forth my thoughts take me.
However, this world is yours and mine, these kids are yours and mine and their well being is yours and mine.