In the first part of this series I talked how one of the best ways to stop bullying is to break the triangle of bully, victim and bystander. When a child sees one student bullying another, the triangle forms.
Laughing along with the bully is by far the easiest thing to do. Walking away is harder. And it is even more difficult for a child to step up and show the victim compassion. By showing the bully that you support your classmate, you deprive him or her of the reaction they are looking for and that can completely disarm them.
Here are some tips for your child if they find themselves on the receiving end of a bully:
Your child needs to know that if they are being picked on, it doesn't actually have anything to do with him or her. The process of bullying goes much deeper than that and can usually be traced back to a rough life at home for the bully or even poorly developed social skills. Lashing out is just a desperate attempt to have control over something. Your child can end up being the unfortunate target for no other reason than it was convenient.
After helping your child to understand that it is not their fault, they need to know that it is okay to just walk away. Bullies are usually trying to illicit a particular response. Deprive them of that response enough times and they will more than likely move on. This can take the response of just flat out ignoring the bully, seeking out a group of friends who will show compassion (safety in numbers), and even confronting the bully with age appropriate phrases that you can practice with your child at home.
Last but not least is let your child understand that it is okay to seek out teachers and school administration to help with the situation. Make them aware of the situation every time the bully says or does something. It is never a good idea to be silent. The abuse will continue as long as a bully gets the reaction they want and they keep getting away with it. Nip the problem in the bud.
Next installment I will lay out some guidelines that parents can use to get more involved.
- Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach. He is ranked an advanced instructor in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and has studied numerous other styles including Wing Chun, Shaolin Lohan, Tae Kwan Do and Isshinryu Karate. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or firstname.lastname@example.org
His school offers martial arts lessons in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and instructs all ages. He is available for seminars and Bully Proofing workshops