Children hitting and touching me

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#1 Oct 25th, 2009, 17:10
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  • Gelsomina is offline
#1
Apart from getting a lot of stares, I've been pretty lucky in my travels to India - no illness, no scams or rip-offs, no sexual harassment. But I do have one problem in Rajasthan: kids running up to me and hitting me! not asking for money or candy or anything, just hitting/touching and sometimes saying hello and running away. Even grabbing and pulling my hair sometimes. What's going on here? does this happen to other people? do their mothers tell them to lurk in the streets and hit westerners? Would they randomly hit and touch Indian adults walking down the street? Are there western tourists out there encouraging kids to do this because they think it's cute??

I'm a middle school teacher and have little patience for kids getting unruly with adults, so I go into school marm mode when they do this; that is, I get really irritated at their disrespectful behavior and glare at them and say 'stop'. Unfortunately it's happened so many times already that I think the next time some brat does this, I'm really going to lose it!
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#2 Oct 25th, 2009, 17:43
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hey one easy way to get of kids is to buy tofees and keep them with u so next time u run into them u just give them some... i think u cud buy inexpensive 25p tofees...
#3 Oct 25th, 2009, 17:47
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I'd say that that is likely to encourage bad behaviour, which should not be rewarded.
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#4 Oct 25th, 2009, 17:57
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gelsomina View Post But I do have one problem in Rajasthan: kids running up to me and hitting me!
Never happened to me in Rajasthan, though we were mostly in the countryside. Presumably this is in a tourist city?

Kids do have a finely honed sense of exactly what they can get away with; I suspect that they're egging each other on, and that so far there have been no consequences so they're getting braver with their "game".

Quote:
I go into school marm mode when they do this; that is, I get really irritated at their disrespectful behavior and glare at them and say 'stop'.
When Indian kids have crowded round me too much when I'm showing them photos I've just taken of them, I've laughed and firmly said okay now, that's enough and they've quietened down a bit. You could try that instead of the severe school marm mode. No idea if it would work, I know more about training dogs than kids, though some might say there's little essential difference.

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I think the next time some brat does this, I'm really going to lose it!
It would annoy me too, and if someone unseen hit me I'd be likely to lash out in reflex without stopping to check who it was or how old they are.

If all else fails, they sell bullwhips outside the Taj Mahal.

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Originally Posted by hash666 View Post hey one easy way to get of kids is to buy tofees
Giving badly behaved Indian kids sweets as a way to get rid of them? What planet are you on?
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#5 Oct 25th, 2009, 18:22
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Deplorable behaviour. Rajasthani parents do not teach such a thing. Which place in Rajasthan? Would you be at that place for a length of time? If you are going to be there for some time, deal with it firmly (in your school marm mode), but do not pick up a cane.
#6 Oct 25th, 2009, 18:29
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#6
its not a form of reward.. its just a way of getting rid of them so they dont scratch , hit and spit on u...
#7 Oct 25th, 2009, 18:44
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#7
Thanks for the prompt replies! Candy?! are you kidding? lug around a bunch of sweets to encourage a vicious cycle of behavior? they'll just expect it every time they see a westerner. So far, no one's tried to scratch or spit on me-hope it doesn't get that bad!
Aupmanyav, it's happened in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur. In Jodhpur some kids actually threw a big stick at me which hit me on the back and really hurt. Fortunately, my significant other was with me and let them have it in Hindi.
I'm moving to Udaipur in December so I'll have to find a way to deal with it. Haylo-maybe a dog whistle would work?
Must say that I've seen a lot of westerners in south/south east Asia with good intentions but misguided actions, or just general cultural ignorance and ethnocentrism, who constantly encourage this sort of behavior. I doubt these children act this way towards Indians and in all of these cities where it's happened to me, western tourists are no longer a novelty. So, apart from the kids daring each other, are the parents also culprits? would it be possible that they tell their children it's ok to do this? if that's the case, I can't see anything changing until the parental attitude changes.
#8 Oct 25th, 2009, 18:46
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Novelty factor/Curiosity factor. The kids are excited and want to establish contact/conversation but have no idea how to begin. And it seems that adults, even school teachers are at a loss to figure out how best to turn the situation into an unforgettable, even memorable experience. The easy thing is to spank a child. Unfortunately, that is what most teachers have learnt from their own teachers. There could be a different way. Victorian discipline is not necessarily the best way to bring up children.

Smile, get down to their level, invite them, open a conversation, spend a few minutes and see what comes of it. If you are in a hurry, ignore and move on. I have faced the same once in Bharatpur and in a little while I had three of them carrying my cameras and tripods, following me every where.After wards we had a great picnic at the temple cafetaria. And I am an unmistakable Indian. My long tele lens was perhaps the curiosity factor.
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#9 Oct 25th, 2009, 19:00
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#9
yes, labrol, that is a good suggestion. However, when I'm on my way somewhere, and don't feel like lingering, and it's the 4th time in one day that some child has grabbed at me, then it's hard to feel charitable and patient! I deal with a difficult age group all the time, for work, so when I'm "off duty" I just want a little tranquility.
#10 Oct 25th, 2009, 19:08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gelsomina View Post I deal with a difficult age group all the time, for work, so when I'm "off duty" I just want a little tranquility.
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#11 Oct 25th, 2009, 19:15
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#11

I wonder

I wonder, just wondering, if the op is going through classic culture shock. Perhaps it is not the situation itself but the irritation and reaction. Feels to me like a case of shock. All of us go through it and our irritation is caused by different things but what might be underlying this (if not something else) is this stage of culture shock.

Just a thought not knowing how long you have been there and all.
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#12 Oct 25th, 2009, 19:34
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Originally Posted by danield View Post Feels to me like a case of shock.
Could be that the OPs reaction is magnified by culture shock, but frankly it sounds like some extremely badly behaved kids - that sort of behaviour is not considered acceptable in any culture I know!

Doubt our Indian members from other parts of the country would have massive culture shock on visiting Rajasthan, but I guess they would be just as annoyed at behaviour like that.

My recommendation is to get out of the cities and other places that are being "polluted" by tourists who encourage poor behaviour - the kids I met in Rajasthani villages were absolutely delightful, and that's coming from someone who doesn't even LIKE kids.
#13 Oct 25th, 2009, 19:40
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I've never had this problem in Delhi; the only time I'm approached aggressively by kids is if they're begging, and generally, they see reason when I suggest that I'm a bad mark because I'm not a tourist but actually live here. (I admit, I often point out a tourist to them and say, "Try that person!" -- Which, yes, is a little evil of me. )

HOWEVER. Yes, I have a story about Rajasthan. When I lived in Jodhpur, I had some nightmarish encounters with two young girls -- say, eight, nine, ten years old at the most. These girls were beyond aggressive when asking for money. I used to dread running into them when I went into the bazaar, because they would latch on to your arm, try to pull off your skirt, scratch, claw, etc. and the shopkeepers would look on and laugh or shake their heads or, occasionally, try to help -- but it only went so far; the girls would lie in wait after being driven off, then pounce on me/us as we left the safety of the shops.

Since yelling only seemed to egg them on to new heights, I just adopted a policy of trying to avoid/outmanuever them, until one day when I was out with an Indian friend. They started in on me as usual, one of them actually scratched some skin off my wrist! My friend hauled back and slapped the girl who had clawed me. And after that, they left me alone, even when I was out by myself.

Not recommending this approach, of course! In fact, I doubt very much if you've ever run into girls like these -- they were, thankfully, one in a million! (Although getting a stick thrown at you sounds pretty close!) Just wanted to say, though, that I sympathize; it can be *very* unnerving to be harassed by kids, because you really don't know what to do -- it's not like you can be as forceful with them as you would with an adult. Maybe have your significant other teach you a few short Hindi phrases that you can yell, like "Chhuuo mat!" and "Chhodo mujhe!" (which roughly sound like "Choo-oh mutt" and "cho-ro mooj-ay", and mean, respectively, "Don't touch" and "Let go of me"). When screamed really loud, these draw a lot of attention and can send the kids scattering in record time.
#14 Oct 25th, 2009, 19:45
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#14
<cross-posted with Lindsay>

I don't think it's just the tourist areas though.

I'm trying to think now if it's ever happened to me -- I don't think so really, although I've surely ran into some otherwise unruly brats --, but stories, and esp. from very rural areas, of children sometimes throwing rocks at strangers and stuff are not unheard of no. Their parents or other adults around seemingly not about to admonish them either; I've certainly observed it with kids doing it to dogs and other animals.

Don't ask me what the reason for it is. Partly some deeply-ingrained bemusement at the "other" I guess, and then there's certainly something to be said about children of a certain (usually quite young) age and certainly boys often being apparently scarcely disciplined at all. When it gets out of hand like this (as in throwing rocks indeed) it is said to potentially get quite risky if not just extremely annoying yes, and just telling them off not being very effective either. Most you can do is move on if you can, it seems.

What surprises me rather is to hear now of it happening in some larger cities. Although in very touristy areas, I guess kids can get arguably spoiled in their very own ways yes.
#15 Oct 25th, 2009, 19:47
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#15

I agree

I agree that such behavior is not acceptable. But if it is culture shock, just an idea, part of the nature of culture shock is to exaggerate the difference one is experiencing. Such is the dissonance that CS creates. We exaggerate the situation, react to it by struggling to cope with the incident and then eventually come to some form of resolution by accepting and managing that difference.

The reason I suggest and wonder this is that most other posters say they have not had a similar situation in Rajasthan as the OP did.

Just wondering outside the box and trying to help op gain perspective.
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