HOW TO DEAL WITH BULLYING – Practical Bullying Solutions
An Unconventional Approach To Beating Bullying, Harassment, Aggressive Behavior and Torment
By John Nottingham
Every child will eventually have to deal with bullying at some point in his or her life. The problem of bullying is present in schools, at bus stops, on the bus, sometimes in the home and even by teachers and other authority figures. Learning to deal with bullying is a skill that can make a significant difference in how we perceive ourselves.
These struggles can help develop important self defense and safety skills that are useful throughout life or if mishandled, can do damage that can last a lifetime.
Bullying can take on many forms including:
Types of bullying:
- Verbal bullying – the most common form of bullying, can be insults, humiliating comment, name calling, taunting, harassing.
- Physical bullying-easiest to see from the outside, can be tripping, punching, shoving, pinching, kicking, tripping, hair pulling, pencil poking, hiding things, stealing
- Social/relational bullying – hard to detect and often indirect, can be shunning and exclusion, done through body language like dismissive looks, mean and degrading notes, ignoring, spreading rumors
- Cyber-bullying/Internet Bullying/Media Bullying – newest form of bullying, using text messaging, email, chatrooms, Facebook, forums, message boards and other social media to send threatening and degrading messages, harass, or spread rumors
- Video Bullying: selectively editing embarrassing video footage, message boards or other media.
Do You Want to Help Your Child Avoid Bullying?
Here are some suggestions that have proven successful over the years.
Bully Stopper 1. Respond Do Not React. Take a breath, insert time and think before you react. By taking and breath and inserting time, you can come up with a response that works, rather than react simply on how you feel. The goal is to solve the problem and reacting can rashly and emotionally make it worse. The response needs to fit the situation so sometimes it might be to ignore, or make a joke, respond calmly and sincerely, firmly and loudly or immediately get help.
Bully Stopper 2. Communicate. Learning to communicate with confidence is key to successful social intelligence. From how to communicate with yourself with positive self talk (internal coaching), to speak up for yourself with a rude person or even to have the courage to talk to an adult to get the right help. This is especially powerful self defense in bullying situations since most, but not all, situations begin with verbal interactions. A child who communicates is more likely to tell, involve friends and access the right kind of help.
Bully Stopper 3. Boundary setting. Teach your children how to set verbal, physical, emotional limits. Role playing these skills are essential to a solid bullying defense and bully prevention.
Bully Stopper 4. Encourage Hero Culture. Instill in your children a sense of connectedness and responsibility with others. If they learn empathy, compassion, sharing and caring, they are more likely to stand up for others or not participate in cruelty. Specifically address scenarios where it might seem cool to use power over others, but how it can be used in a harmful way. Show them how to stand up for others by leading by example and discussing “what if” scenarios.
If you see something wrong, do or say something right.
Bully Stopper 5. Teach Them To Overcome Adversity and Problem Solve. Do not reward victim culture. It is growing in popularity to reward children for being perpetual victims by lavishing time, attention, love and affection on them when they act like a victim. While compassion and love are good to show, it must be in the proper context or risk creating a permanent, disabled and co-dependant victim with low self worth or dignity other than the victim identity. Try placing more emphasis on rewarding overcoming hardship through encouragement and responsibility. This is not to say that we ever blame a child for being a victim, rather help them overcome challenges and difficulties with their heads held high. Make sure they know they are not in it alone and good problem solving is assembling a good team of help.
Bully Stopper 6. Instruct them how to defend themselves physically if attacked. Nothing builds confidence like knowing you can defend yourself. Without this skill, they will always have a nagging question in the back of their minds if they can protect themselves. Practice slow motion physical attack and insult scenarios. They can avoid the low grade fear and anxiety that comes from being afraid of not having options in an attack, fight or situation that calls for self defense. Teach them the difference between self defense and fighting. They should know that they are worth defending and it is always right to protect yourself as a last resort, when everything else has failed. They should also know that self defense has limits and is used defensively, force appropriate, not as punishment or revenge. Bully Self Defense is only to escape to safety.
Bully Stopper 7. Cyber-bullying/Social Media Bullying. Monitor and frequently discuss Cyber bullying, lures, ploys and how to spot and avoid online or media trouble. Make it a condition of internet, phone, media use that when they see messages that are rude, intimidating, inappropriate that they report it to you. It is important that you don’t over-react to earn their trust and not punish them for other people’s behavior. In fact, reward their good choice and turn it into a positive lesson and reassure them of your love and support.
Bully Stopper 8. Enroll your children in martial arts or a good bullying prevention program. One of the most proven successful ways to build a child’s confidence, prevent bullying and improve the quality of their lives is martial arts training. Not only will they get to learn and test their bullying and self defense skills, they learn focus, discipline, self-control, social skills and much more. You’ll notice your child carries themselves differently and sometimes that is enough to prevent bullying. Taekwondo, Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga, Kung Fu – the style is less important than the experience of the instructor and the quality of the curriculum they implement at the martial arts school.
Bully Stopper 9. Be The Positive Role Model. Children will often do what they see their parents, siblings and role models do. Be aware of the example you and others set for your child as they will certainly reflect those attitudes, ideals and values in their lives. Observe kindness, compassion, forgiveness, caring and respect in your dealings. Discuss these things with your child. When you make a mistake, let them see you make it right, rather than attempt to justify it. Your children will learn through these examples and experiences far more than the things you tell them.
Implementing these strategies will go a long way in helping your child prevent bullying and learn to stand up for themselves and others in healthy ways.
John Nottingham, EPS, PI, 6th Dan
John Nottingham is the founder of Bullying Prevention Initiative International, creator of the Bully Proof Vest program, a bodyguard, law enforcement and military trainer. A 6th Degree Master Black Belt, he owns USA Martial Arts & Kickboxing Phoenix and Nottingham Sword & Shield Security Bodyguards.
For more information contact:
Arizona Bullying Prevention Initiative The Phoenix Bully Proof Project FACEBOOK
Bully Proof Arizona BLOG
Bullying Prevention Initiative International FACEBOOK
Bullying Prevention World BLOG