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Dealing with Bullies

The issue of bullies has become a major issue in society. Whether your child is a victim of bullying, or is the perpetrator, this is an extremely stressful situation for both the child and the parents to deal with.

The growth of online social platforms has, in some instances, increased and intensified the issues, as bullies can potentially harass their victims around the clock.

What can be done to prevent this happening?

While there is no one perfect way to prevent a child being a victim of bullying, there is a lot that can be done to reduce the risk. One of the best ways to help children cope with issues around bullying is to improve their self-confidence and work on emotional strength.

If we look to examples in nature, when a lion is hungry it doesn’t think to itself, “I’m going to go out and chase down the fittest and strongest gazelle I can find”. That would be crazy. Instead, they pick on the weak or the smallest, because they are the easiest target.

Now, I’m not implying I think children who are being bullied are weak - in most cases this is simply not the case at all. What tends to be the catalyst for being targeted is, for example, the victim overreacts to something that is said, or gets angry at a joke at their expense; this can then single them out as a target because the bully knows they can get under their skin.

Developing self-confidence and building emotional strength will equip children to better deal with situations where bullying takes place. These important life skills help children recognise and avoid situations that can lead to bullying, and will also give them the confidence to speak up if a situation does arise.

Defusing and avoidance

One of the key aspects to all good bully defense program is learning ways to defuse and avoid situations that may lead to being physically or emotionally attacked. To do this, Martial Arts instructors teach students verbal defusing skills, as well as pattern recognition (get to know the feeling when something can escalate). We also see as their self-confidence grows in these areas, any potential issues with bullies just seem to diminish or go away altogether.

What about self-defense?

So far we have focused on what I believe is one of the most important skills you can possess for dealing with bullies (avoidance skills). There are, however, situations where the threat puts your child in immediate physical danger. In these situations, children who are trained in self-defense are better equipped to avoid getting hurt, and take action to get out of danger as quickly as possible. Regular self-defense practice will help children to remain calm and to take action to protect his or her self.

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