Bullying has become an epidemic in recent years.
Yes, there have always been bullies, and yes, those bullies have always caused serious and lasting damage to their victims; however, bullying in the 21st century has changed – and not for the better.
According to Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, one in four students has reported that they were bullied during the school year and 14.8% of high school students in the United States have reported that they were bullied online.
The consequences of bullying can be devastating. Victims are more likely to experience a decrease in their academic performance, anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems.
Being that bullying is such a rampant problem in the United States, children need to be presented with methods that will teach them how to combat being the victim of the name calling, teasing, and harassment that are associated with bullying behavior. How can kids avoid becoming the victim of a bully?
Here are some tips that can be highly effective.
Typically, bullies tend to prey on those who appear to lack confidence and who are unsure of themselves. If a bully sees that someone is lacking confidence, he or she is more likely to target that individual and harass that person.
Being confident is one of the most effective ways to avoid being bullied. Kids need to have inner confidence, and they need to be able to project that confidence outward.
Parents can help build their children’s confidence by building them up and supporting them. When children know that they are valued, they automatically have confidence. Kids can exude their inner confidence by standing tall, making eye contact, being friendly and taking pride in their appearance.
Gain the Support of Friends
One or two great friends is worth more than 100 fair-weather friends. This is especially true if someone wants to avoid being bullied.
Kids should pick their friends wisely, and should gather their support. Remaining in contact with those friends – walking down the school halls with them, sitting with them on the bus, or eating with them in the cafeteria – will prevent a bully from targeting a child. Typically, bullies tend to take aim at children who are ‘loners.’
Support from friends is a highly powerful force against bullies.
Stand Up for Yourself
If a bully does start to attack, a child should not only know that it is OK to stand up for him – or herself, but that standing up must be done.
If a child encounters someone who is saying or doing hurtful things, that child should exert his or her inner confidence, stand tall, look the bully in the eye and tell him or her to stop it.
Once the child tells the bully to stop, he or she should walk away and move on. Letting the bully see that he or she has impacted the victim will only make him or her feel successful, which will make him or her want to try again.
Kids have the power to stop bullies, and martial arts help them find that power.
At Samurai Karate Studio, we teach children to avoid confrontation first and we make it clear to our students that fighting in school is not allowed and we make sure they understand the consequences of fighting.
Avoiding confrontation is the best defense.
However, there is a difference between fighting and protecting yourself from harm. We teach our students how to do this through the effective use of blocking techniques that are purely defensive in nature and don’t include throwing a punch.
We have helped hundreds of children over the years and we are available to work privately or in our regular karate classes.
By following these tips, children can avoid being the victim of such cruel behavior and avoid the lasting consequences of bullying.
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Sensei Chris Feldt is the owner and chief instructor of Samurai Karate Studio, a leadership academy located in Northeast Columbia, South Carolina. His school teaches karate to children and adults ages 4 and up. SKS specializes in self-defense, anti-bullying, stranger danger and character and leadership development.
Mr. Feldt was an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina for college credit in karate and self-defense. Samurai Karate Studio has been recognized as a leader in martial arts instruction by being honored with the Best of Columbia Award for 5 consecutive years in a row.
Sensei Feldt has been a guest speaker in the Richland 2 School District covering school talks on stranger danger, anti-bullying strategies, kindness, and making good choices. He is available for both private and corporate self-defense seminars.
Samurai Karate Studio is also a proud member of MAAB, Martial Artists Against Bullying, a nationwide program made up of martial arts schools throughout the country that are committed to helping children who are victims of bullying. If you or someone you know is being bullied, we are here to help. But, you have to take the first step and either call us at 803-462-9425 or email us at: [email protected]
Bullying is one of the most serious issues we face today and with the right coaching, students can learn how to defeat the bully using non-violent strategies.