I believe that there is no better bully prevention for kids than being a part of a dedicated, supportive traditional Okinawan karate dojo, such as East Valley Martial Arts. Over many years, I have seen our child students successfully put on the armor of confidence, respect, humbleness and pride. Not to mention fighting spirit. These things all help make them less likely bully targets. But some students have had to deal with bullies. And we have met others who maybe don’t train but who could use help with preventing and dealing with bully situations. This is for you. And here is a list of things for parents to consider telling their kids about bullying.
BULLY PREVENTION BODY LANGUAGE
Summer is a great time to reset and the new school year gives you a new beginning. Have a strategy to make an impression of confidence, or more specifically strong, relaxed confidence when you arrive at the first day of school. If your family says you don’t look confident in your posture and walk, practice walking into pretend classrooms. Keep your back straight, shoulders back and relaxed, chin up, and look around you with a calm expression. If bullies see you as confident, strong and relaxed, they will not want to pick on you.
NONCHALANCE FOR BULLY PREVENTION & SITUATIONS
If a bully tests you with a comment, then let it go and act as if they did not bother you. Remember that what a bully wants is to get a reaction from you. And the weaker, sadder, and more emotional they can make you seem, the more likely they will continue to bully you either in that moment or on another day. At the dojo we practice Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle’s game of smiling and saying “thank you” to insults, in order to keep our cool and use bully prevention. That activity is described in Dr. Webster-Doyle’s book Martial Arts Guide for Parents.
YOUR BULLY PREVENTION SMARTS
Use your most powerful weapon—your brain—for bully prevention. 1) Constantly be aware of your surroundings. 2) Keep yourself safe physically. 3) Be confident in your abilities and grow your inner spirit by regular training (this can be karate and/or other physical activity). 4) Be respectful to your classmates and teachers. 5) Use the presence of adult authorities to prevent or stop bully issues. 6) For cyber-bullying, report to the site, block the troll, and get offline. Don’t rely on online interactions for social fulfillment. 7) Don’t let them get you down. And 8) if you are in the majority role of bystander, stand up for the victim. Then continue to strengthen your own bully prevention techniques.
REPORTING FOR FUTURE BULLY PREVENTION
If you have problems with being picked on or bullied, you do not have to deal with this by yourself. Many times, bullies were successfully stopped when parents and authorities got involved. But that is not a fool-proof resolution. Tell an adult you trust what’s going on, and if that doesn’t help, tell another one. Bully issues vary hugely. You may have to get many different ideas from other wise, helpful people. You may have to try many solutions before you find the one that works. Don’t give up!