The truth is, there is no magic way that you will be able to guarantee bullying will never happen to your child.
Children face more verbal bullying than physical bullying
The good news is, there are a few things you can do to help prevent and reduce the impact that bullying can have on your child’s life, and future.
It is important that as parents, you understand that bullying is incredibly common, but this does not leave you helpless.
In this blog, you will develop the skills to identify the signs of bullying. You will also pick up some tips for you and your child, on how to stop bullying.
What Stops Bullies?
However, there are also other techniques they can learn in Martial Arts to mitigate, or even reduce these threats.
A Martial Artist’s toolkit to combat bullying:
Keeping calm under pressure
Identifying a real threat
And as you can imagine, these tactics will also help with verbal or cyberbullying too.
It is very clear that bullying is much more of a mental game with verbal taunts, making victims feel insecure and inferior.
If not addressed, this can set victims up for years of low self-esteem and insecurity.
How Many Children Experience Bullying?
Kids today face more verbal bullying than physical bullying, with almost nine out of 10 bullied children becoming a victim, that’s according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
These “horrifying” stats are proof that children need to build their physical, mental, and emotional resilience, as only using physical self-defence methods will no longer suffice in protecting your child.
- According to the ONS, of all 10-15 year olds that were victims of bullying, 89% were victims of verbal abuse
- Boys in particular, are at risk of physical bullying, with 78% of boys experiencing physical bullying, compared to 52% of girls
- Over 80% of bullying happens completely, or partially in school, leaving parents unable to protect their children from the bullying that occurs
Cyberbullying is on the rise
Gone are the days when bullying ended in the playground, bullies are closer than ever.
- Girls are 10% more likely to be victims of verbal bullying, and are 100% more likely to be victims of cyberbullying
More must be done to build confident and resilient children. Rather than be reactive, we can proactively instil the skills, knowledge, and strength within our children to help them deal with bullies.
This highlights the need to build your child’s character. This will ensure they are confident and able to protect themselves mentally, as well as physically.
Dealing With Bullies – Keira’s Advice
Keira is one of our students, who has personal experience with overcoming bullying herself.
Find out how Keira developed her confidence with Martial Arts to share more, and be more open with others below.
Advice To Anyone Experiencing Bullying
We asked Keira what the most important thing she had learnt from her Martial Arts was.
This was her answer, “(Overcoming) Bullying is the first top one, because when I started there, I had bullying then”. She goes on to say that despite being bullied, she managed to sort it out herself.
So, from being bullied to giving advice, here is what Keira has to say…
“So, advice for the little kids, or whatever age you are, even if you’re an adult and you have bullying at work, or anything like that. I suggest, even though they’re not your friend or they’re being rude to you, it still means you have to be friendly to them and say, “Good morning” or, “Good afternoon” or, be nice to them. Because… they might have something going on with their life. Or anything like that. That’s why you need to stand up for yourself.”
Wise words from a 10-year old…
Signs Of Bullying To Look Out For
Look for changes in your child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.
Look out for:
- Frequent tears, anger, mood swings, and anxiety
- Sudden decline in school grades
- Unexplainable injuries
- Frequently lost/destroyed possessions
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick, or even faking illness
- Sudden changes in eating/sleeping patterns
- Sudden loss of interest in once enjoyed activities
- Sudden loss offriends, or avoidance of social situations
- Exclusion from friends or family
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
Think your child is bullying others? Look out for these signs:
- Increasingly aggressive behaviours
- Gets into physical or verbal fights
- Excessively worried about their reputation or popularity
- Increasingly controlling over friends
- Have friends who bully others
- Blames others and does not accept responsibility for their negative actions
It is important to remember that kids do not bully because they are ‘bad’.
Children may bully for these reasons:
- to fit in
- for attention
- they may be experiencing bullying themselves
These are just a few reasons, and there are many others to bear in mind. Every child is different. One child may bully because they are being bullied, but this doesn’t mean all children will.
The Importance Of Spotting The Signs Of Bullying
Spotting the signs of bullying can help prevent a lifetime of problems. Like anything in life, especially health related issues, prevention is better than cure.
See why it’s so important to act early below.
The character that your child develops up to the age of 16, is the most important factor in determining their future success, in all areas of their life.
Remember, ‘Character Building’ is not a subject taught in school.
If their character building is disrupted at a young age as a result of bullying, your child may need to undo this damage well into their adulthood.
This becomes a lot more difficult to mend later in life, as life’s stresses and responsibilities tend to increase.
Youth Suicide & Depression
The occasional tantrum or mood swing is to be expected during childhood; however, depression is different.
The negative effects of depression in children go far beyond a bad mood. Depression can destroy your child’s personality, especially during these crucial years.
If left neglected, unhealthy attitudes can develop, leading to potentially more damaging behaviours.
The rise in youth suicides and depression has prompted schools to be more proactive in the ﬁght against bullying. But schools can only do so much.
The real building blocks for strengthening your child start at home.
Bullying in all forms, whether it is physically, verbally, or psychologically, intimidates another person, and is commonplace among children.
Without inducing fear in a victim, bullies have no power advantage. They seek victims who lack self-conﬁdence, so they can exploit their weaknesses, and break their spirit.
It is all about self-conﬁdence (adults and children included). Would you expect your child to write a book, without ﬁrst learning how to read?
I’d imagine you wouldn’t…
Similarly, it is impossible to expect your child to stand up to bullies, without ﬁrst learning self-defence.
To give your children self-conﬁdence, rooted in the knowledge that no child can harm or intimidate them, is a priceless gift, with the potential to shape their entire lives.
Were You Conﬁdent Growing Up?
If you answered no, then you might remember the struggle of feeling ‘not good enough’.
If you were lucky enough to grow up with conﬁdence, you probably want to ensure that your child does too!
After all, with self-conﬁdence comes self-compassion, and self-belief, which are essential for your child to grow and progress in life.
Watch how one of our students transformed his confidence with Martial Arts here.
How You Can Help Your Child With Bullying
Here are some tips you and your family can use straight away…
Stay Calm and Positive
It may be upsetting and stressful to find out that your child is a victim of bullying.
But remember, your child feels anxious already, and will need positive support.
There is a possibility that your child is hesitant to open up about being bullied, due to their fear of upsetting or distressing those they care most about.
It can be useful to reach out to those closest to you, and to get support for yourself while you are helping your child.
Talk with the School or Club
Wherever bullying is occurring, you do not need to ask your child’s permission to talk to the school or club. Very often, children who are being bullied fear that any action taken may worsen their situation. And they may resist your involvement.
You can always let your child know later what actions you have taken. Let the school take responsibility for helping students who are bullying to change their ways.
Keep Your Child Safe
You should contact the school, club, or any group in charge immediately, if your child’s safety is at risk.
Talk To Your Child
Encourage your child to share what is happening. If they prefer to try and deal with the bullying alone, advise them on what they can do. Assure them that you will work with them to find a solution.
Give them a short period of time to see if they can resolve the situation.
Tell your child that reporting the bullying is okay. Assure your child that it is not their fault, and that ignoring the problem will not solve it.
Encourage Your Child To Handle Bullies By:
- Trying to act unimpressed or unaffected
- Using other strategies to diffuse the situation (e.g. agreeing in anoff handway with the bully, when they say offensive or negative things, I.e. not giving the bully power)
- Saying “No!” firmly
- Talking to a teacher or another trusted adult, e.g. school guidance officer
- Acting confidently even when they don’t feel it.
Role Play Bullying Situations With Your Child:
- Stand and walk in a way that appears more confident
- Maintain eye contact when having a conversation
- Give a quick reply to surprise or disarm the bully
- Speak slowly and remember to use your breath to calm your nerves
- Use a routine response (e.g. okay, whatever) that implies that the child is not bothered.
Can Martial Arts Help With Bullying?
You might be thinking, “How will Martial Arts help beat bullies?”
I completely understand your question, especially during times where people get scolded for hitting back.
But Martial Arts is about a whole lot more than the offence
Martial Arts will help your child:
- Build Confidence
- Be present
- Build Strength
- Embrace Failure
- Enjoy Learning
- Accept who they are
But every child is different.
Even the most confident of children can experience bullying.
Take Keira for example.
Keira is one of our Martial Arts students. She is an incredibly confident, outgoing, and optimistic child. What these characteristics did help Keira with was, overcoming the effects of bullying
Watch Keira’s full story here to find out more.
Martial Arts and Bullying – Tips To Handle Bullies
We’ve compiled our best tips on how to handle bullies, from years of experience seeing how people experience bullying, and what they do to overcome it.
Check out our best tips below!
The 3 S’s to Beating Bullies
If a bully harasses you, be assertive, and confidently ask them to leave you alone. Look them in the eye when speaking, and breathe deeply to stop your heart beat from racing.
Remember, you can always say “NO!”
If the bully does not stop, let a trusted adult know what is happening, and ask for help.
Do not be afraid of judgement, you are not alone. Many people have been or know someone who has been bullied before.
If you have tried to peacefully deal with the bully, and they continue to persist even with the help of a trusted adult, you must take action.
First you must use your mental strength to dominate a bully.
Even if you do not feel confident, ACT IT. Bullies normally target those that don’t stand up to them, due to a lack of confidence.
If this does not deter the bully, you must use your physical strength.
Using your body should never be the first solution.
When you can, save your energy for something more important (like getting away). But when it is called for, then use it without fear of punishment, as you never know what might happen.
5 Tips To Become BullyProof
- Act, Don’t React
- Keep Eye Contact
- No Victims
- Be Confident
- Train More, Train Harder
Show this poster to your child.
Martial Arts Rules With Bullies
Once your child understands how to use The 3 S’s and 5 Tips to deal with persistent verbal bullies.
It is essential that they learn the five basic rules, when using Martial Arts against bullies.
Rule 1: Avoid the fight at all costs if possible
Rule 2: Use the force necessary to stop the fight as quickly as possible
Rule 3: If verbally attacked, follow the Three S-steps
Rule 4: Before striking the bully, try to establish control and negotiate
Rule 5: If threatened, hit hard, hit first, and only use what is necessary for you to get away
Now that you are equipped with the tools to stop bullying, take action right away.
Whoever you know that is experiencing bullying, send them this blog.
Guide them to taking control of the situation, because quite often, we need help from others to help us take the first steps to self-control.
Alternatively, if you are in or around Slough come down for a Free Taster class to find out how you, or someone you know can end bullying with Martial Arts.
The best time to start is yesterday, the next best time is NOW!