Bullying has evolved so much over the years. In previous decades the definition of bully was largely limited to physical assault. Now, it takes on a much wider definition and can include repeated name calling, rude comments, and cyberbullying (bullying through text and online).
If bullying reaches a point where someone is compelled to come up and punch you in the face, it has gone on far too long. It is important to be proactive rather than reactive. Start to address it when a child is being isolated and called names. Do not let it go on for any length of time.
Because of technology these days and the emergence of cyberbullying it can be extremely difficult for a child to escape into a place where they feel safe.
There are usually differences in strategy between how boys bully versus how girls go about it. Female bullies usually choose to attack other girls verbally (making fun of external characteristics) and use tactics such as exclusion and talking behind a girl's back to make a victim feel unwanted and unaccepted.
Boys can be verbal as well, but tend to be much more physical and aggressive.
A child will start to feel bullied whenever they are made an outcast at school or made to feel unsafe.
A bully is successful as long as they can get the reaction they are looking for. It can be hard for a child to ignore a bully so encourage them to reach out to their support system of friends, family, and school administration.
An important thing to remember is that a child who bullies usually does so because of underdeveloped social and mental skills. He will rely on cruel tactics to interact with his peers because he simply may not know better. Without help, these children can grow up to be bullies in their adult life, a skill they will more than likely teach their own children and thus continuing the cycle. They never really learn how to properly interact with others and this can hinder them in their adult life.
Whether you are the parent of a victim or happen to be the parent of the bully, the common thread throughout all of this is compassion. By teaching your children to show compassion they can break the cycle of bullying on multiple levels.
The next and final installment will be on how martial arts can help your child.
- 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