My kids attended an anti-bullying class in the Spring. I wanted them to learn about what is bullying and how they can protective themselves from bullies. Bullying behavior is unacceptable and I applaud those schools that have an anti-bullying campaign.
My son, Ethan was a victim of being bullied. It wasn’t as severe as being physically pushed, grabbed, or hit but the older boy used his words to shout, intimidate and say mean things to my son. I noticed a difference in Ethan’s behavior after school as he became more withdrawn, easily aggravated, and hostile to us at home. He finally told me about this other boy and I spoke with his teachers to deal with the situation and to stop the bullying against my son. It turns out that the other boy has had a history of “aggressive” behavior and the other kids reported him so he would stop bullying them. However, Ethan is a quiet boy who wouldn’t tell his teachers about it. I am glad that Ethan trusted me enough to tell me what was going on so I could help him. I am lucky we are at a school that partners with the parents about any issues or concerns especially about bullying. Ethan’s teachers are working with my son to get him to speak up more. They are also taken action in dealing with the other boy’s ongoing problem behavior.
But in many places in America, schools are overcrowded and teachers’ attentions are very limited in addressing these kind of behavior issues. As a result, many kids get bullied and are forced to keep quiet about it in fear of bigger retaliation.
The anti-bullying class taught by Sweet Pete’s Martial Arts academy was very helpful for my kids. They learned about bullying and five ways to deal with bullying.
Bullying are “words or actions directed at someone that are unwanted and hurtful.” These can be verbal or physical attacks. A new kind of bullying in recent years is cyberbullying where kids are taunted and hounded by bullies on text, email, and/or social media channels.
Here are five ways to deal with bullying:
1) Maintain a good presence – bullies tend to pick on kids that look to the ground, eyes shift, and have poor posture. If you are able to look the bully in the eye and look like confident human beings, then you are less likely to be their next victim.
2) Use good verbal skills – you can use your verbal skills to diffuse a tense “bullying” situation. This novel approach can make the bully disengage in trying to bully someone
a. Change the subject – If you change the subject in speaking, then the bully’s tactic in trying verbally attack and intimidate his victim, changes its course and the victim is released.
b. Use humor, make a joke – Humor makes for a good laugh and good comeback. The bully’s intended victim then falls short of the bully’s target of hate, cruelty and intimidation.
Example: The bully says, “You have an ugly face.” You respond, “It matches my ugly shirt.”
c. Take the bully’s side – if you can befriend your enemy, you lost an enemy and gained a friend. Use self-deprecating humor.
3) The WHOA stance – this tactic was taught in the martial arts class for kids to defend themselves first before trying to strike back against a bully who is physically hitting them. With one leg in front of the other, the targeted victim puts one arm out and palm held (without touching the bully) against the bully, and say firmly, “Stop.”
4) Kids nowadays have a right to strike back if they are being hit by a bully but only if this is the last resort to stop the bully from bullying. A good self-defense class teaches kids what to do when being physically attacked.
5) Report it – talk to teachers and administrators if they can do something about the bullying. Talk to your parents who will work with the school to create a safer environment and to protect their kids.
Another good defense against bullying is for insulate their kids with high self-esteem. Kids with high self-esteem are less likely to get picked on and if they do, then they are less bothered by the teasing and are able to shrug the taunting off. Or often, they can collect their wits, and use good verbal skills to diffuse the bullying situation.
Bullying is a major problem for kids growing up and it can also happen at any age. Being aware that bullying can happen anywhere and what bullying is as to prevent this kind of abuse among people is essential to ending this kind of unacceptable behavior.
Knowing what to do to defend yourself against bullying will also help to stop the bullying and empower the victim to take back his/her life.