Studies have shown that Australian schools are among those with the highest reported incidence of bullying in the world with 1 in 4 students aged between 8 and 14 years reporting being bullied every few weeks or more.
As a leading martial arts school we are often asked by parents about the best way to help their children deal with bullies. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, one of the best ways you can help is to instill self confidence in your child.
You might think students of Martial Arts are not bullied because they have self defence skills, however, it’s more likely the self-confidence and core values instilled in our students through their training helps them to avoid the situation altogether.
Many factors — such as the age of the kids involved, the severity of the situation, and the specific type of bullying behaviors will determine the best course of action, but there are a few strategies you can discuss with your kids that can help improve the situation and make them feel better.
If your child tells you they are being bullied at school (or elsewhere), listening calmly while giving them comfort and your unconditional support can help them immensely. Building their self confidence and reassuring them that they are not alone is a great start to helping your child.
We’ve listed six strategies below to help keep kids from becoming targets – and stop bullying that has already started.
1. Use The Buddy System.
Bullies like easy targets, two or more friends standing at their lockers or the bus stop are less likely to be picked on than a child who is all alone. Remind your child to use the buddy system when on the school bus, in the bathroom, or wherever bullies may hang out.
2. Hold The Anger.
It’s natural to get upset by a bully, but that’s what bullies thrive on. Bullies want to knock you down or start a fight. Deny them this by staying calm and positive and try to ignore any hurtful remarks. A child who isn’t easily rattled can stay off a bullies radar.
3. Act Brave.
Make eye contact. Respond firmly. Show confidence even if you are not feeling it. Don’t be afraid to be assertive and stand up for yourself but avoid responding with anger or emotion. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested, texting someone on your cell phone. or turning the comment into a joke. By showing them that you don’t care, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.
4. Avoid The Bully.
Remove yourself from the situation. Walk away. If you see a bully approaching, change directions, walk on the other side of the street or school yard, or find a friend to walk with.
5. Tell Someone.
It’s important to talk to someone about it, whether it’s a parent, another trusted adult such as a teacher or family friend or an older sibling. Most schools have bullying policies and anti-bullying programs. Teachers, principals, and lunchroom personnel at school can all help stop bullying. They are often in a position to monitor and take steps to prevent further problems. The sooner it is addressed the safer you will be.
6. Stand Up For Each Other.
Bullying does not have boundaries, it can happen anywhere, if you see someone being bullied, refuse to take part in it or be part of the audience, don’t follow the crowd or laugh while someone is being picked on. Bullies thrive on being the centre of attention. Walk away from the situation and get some help.
While what will work in one situation may not work, or be appropriate in another, there is no doubt dealing with bullying can destroy a child’s confidence, to help restore it, encourage your kids to spend time with friends and people who have a positive influence and to participate in reputable Karate classes, other sports or other enjoyable activities that build confidence, strength and friendships.
If you would like your child to participate in our next Stand up to Bullying workshop contact us via email or phone 9409 4172