As parents, we hope that our children are fully insulated from the negative effects that bullying leaves on the lives of children, but we see more and more that our hopes might not get us very far. In order for children to learn how to stand up against bullying, they need the help of the adults in their lives. This starts with parents just like you, who become aware of the real threats of bullying and accept the responsibility to do something more for their children. Efforts to stop bullying involve a constant process of awareness of your child’s activities, interests, friends, and experiences.
Bullying is a real and present risk for children across many different platforms. They face the dangers of verbal, physical, social and emotional bullying, as well as cyberbullying. Practically every child is at risk for becoming the victim of a bully, a bystander to the bullying, or the bully and none of these roles are immune to negative and long-lasting effects.
Many of the above signals and signs could indicate that your child is acting as the bully, but there are a few other additional warning signs which every parent should learn.
Your child excludes others from play or social settings, either subtly or overtly
Your child continues inappropriate or negative behavior, even after you have addressed the problems and made sure your child was aware of how that behavior makes others feel
Your child is extremely worried about being popular
Your child is intolerant of others who are different in some way (race, gender, ability/disability, etc.)
You have witnessed your child tease or taunt other children
You have heard others complain about your child’s behavior
Your child is boastful about his/her own accomplishments and belittling towards those of others
Your child is defiant towards teachers, coaches, and other figures of authority
The bystander to bullying might be someone who lacks the confidence and courage to speak up, or someone who even “eggs on” the bully. Either way, the bystander who does nothing about the situation often suffers and contributes to suffering.
A child who is a bystander to bullying will often display some of the same warning signs as both the victim and the bully, depending upon the specific type of involvement in the situation. The most important thing to remember is that the bystander is affected by the situation – and has the power to influence the situation.
Encourage your child to stand up for others in all situations
Demonstrate compassion and empathy
Talk about ways to help others – role play situations that your child might encounter
Make sure that the adults in the situation are aware of the bullying – both on the side of the bully and the victim
This knowledge might be power, but knowledge can also be overwhelming and stressful especially for parents trying to do the right thing for their children. You can take this knowledge you about to learn about the reality of bullying for today’s youth and empower yourself. Now that you know and understand that these risks are real, remember your child could be in any of the three roles and in all of these instances need help and guidance to improve their lives.
At RABJJ Academy, we are committed to our students and to helping families grow. We firmly believe that through Jiu- Jitsu children can become equipped to prevent and effectively deal with bullying situations. We are passionate about our instruction and opportunities, and want you to consider how Jiu-Jitsu training can help your child overcome challenges and build a better tomorrow.
We have put together a very useful resource for you “Parents Toolkit to Bullying” and as an added bonus you will get a FREE class pass for your child and family at any of our locations.
Some people might think that martial arts are pursued because kids need to learn how to physically defend themselves against physical bullying. While there are benefits from learning self-defense for anyone, the value of martial arts goes far beyond this surface benefit.
Martial arts can give children opportunities to:
Build confidence and self-esteem
Develop a deep sense of personal responsibility
Experience personal growth
Learn how to work well with others
Develop leadership skills
Accept failure as opportunities for learning
Learn how to set goals – and achieve them
Develop a strong sense of respect for others
Build a solid work ethic
Develop strong communication skills
If these are the kinds of skills and opportunities you believe can help your child – in combating bullying and in life – we agree. We take seriously our role in helping to develop strong, healthy, positive, service-oriented members of communities – and it all starts with the kids.