Bullying

Question

My child recently came home from school and complained that some classmates are picking on him. He doesn’t want to tattle on them to the teacher because this could cause the classmates to pick on him even more. Rabbi, please advise me on the “Jewish way” to help him. Thank you.

5 months

Answers

  1. Childhood quarrels often result from petty prejudices or imagined grievances. It is also difficult to know for certain that your son is completely innocent. The ideal solution is to make contact with the parents of the classmates in question and to try to work out a “peace plan” between the youngsters with adult guidance.

    The problem facing your son can also be turned into a valuable educational experience. Life can be filled with situations of social hostility of which he is receiving a foretaste at a very young age. You should therefore guide him in breaking down the barriers that separate him from those classmates, and expose him to what he views as unjust harassment.

    Parents can certainly help in such an effort by inviting those classmates to their home for a meal or activity in which they must be polite to their host’s child, and thus foster a new relationship. King Solomon has already advised us to feed our enemy: If your enemy is hungry, feed him bread, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Proverbs 25:21) Similarly, there is a Talmudic teaching that “hospitality has the power to turn enemies into friends.”

    Hopefully, this approach will work. Of course, each parent has discretion to choose to involve the school authorities or consider transferring schools as necessary.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team