In the first installment I talked about breaking the triangle of bully, victim, and bystander by showing compassion for the victim and disarming the bully's efforts. In the second installment I gave you some guidelines that can help a student out if they find themselves on the receiving end of bullying.
In this installment I am going to talk about what you as a parent can do to help end bullying.
One of the first things that should be established with your child concerning how to handle a bully is what I like to call "rules of engagement", which is a set of rules and boundaries that determine how you expect your child to handle a bully.
"Rules of engagement' will differ from family to family based on your beliefs and how your school system handles such situations. If your school has a 'zero tolerance' policy, this needs to be taken into consideration.
Parents may decide that it is only okay for a student to defend himself physically if the other person throws the first punch. For others, it may never be okay to fight at school and may only permit their child to be verbal toward a bully. Whatever your beliefs may be, make sure you are clear to your child how you expect them to conduct themselves during a bullying situation.
Practice scenarios at home with your child. Go over the rules of engagement and discuss how your child can handle different situations when a bully approaches. I suggest practicing phrases like, "I don't want to fight you, but I'm not afraid of you!" and even taking a step toward the bully to emphasize the gravity of the situation. I also like teaching my students to be nauseatingly kind. If a bully yells out, "Hey Four Eyes!", your child can be respond by saying something like, "Hi! I can see much better, thank you!". These type of phrases can take the wind out of a would-be bully's sails because they completely deprive the bully of the reaction they were looking for.
I can't stress enough how important it is for a parent to have open communication with their child. Listen to their concerns, and take notice of unusual behavior and shifts in their normal habits. Be a support system for your child, as many can have difficulty admitting they are being bullied.
Depression and becoming withdrawn can be signs of rough social situations at school. Take the time to talk to them and give them the opportunity to open up.
Next installment, I will go over what makes up a bully and the different forms of bullying.
- 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