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Bullying

Confidence: The Best Way to Combat Bullying

September 6, 2017 | 0 Comment(s)

Recently at the VMAs, the pop-singer Pink used her acceptance speech as a platform to address the insecurities that she’d heard from her six-year-old daughter. Her daughter felt she was ugly because she thought she looked like a boy with long hair. Because she’s so young, it’s easy to see how these insecurities could be attributed to bullying. Pink explained to her child that she’d faced criticism herself for being too masculine and did not let it deter her from becoming successful. She proceeded to show her daughter iconic celebrities that were considered odd and had endured the same criticism and managed to become legendary people. This allowed the little girl to see how amazing it is to be different when you have confidence and embrace who you are.

Bullying has always been a difficult topic to discuss. Some people avoid the topic in an effort to keep the peace but rarely does ignoring a problem ever solve it. Bullying causes children to feel inferior to others and doubt themselves when they should be using this time to discover who they are, what makes them unique, and be confident in that person. At a young age, embracing who you are is difficult to do when others try to keep you down.

Why do kids bully?

Lack of self-confidence is the main reason that bullies do what they do. You’d assume that bullies have the most confidence, but they prey on those that they perceive to be weak because of their own insecurities. Most of the time, bullies have been already bullied by someone else and are simply taking out their aggression on whoever is accessible. They do this in an effort to make themselves feel superior. Their lack of confidence leads them to do cruel things to gain a sense of empowerment and control. Making their victims feel small is always the goal, so they’ll target whoever they believe they can break.

How to combat bullying?

Making sure that your child’s school has an anti-bullying awareness campaign is a great first step. Aside from that, if bullies don’t perceive your child as a victim, they’ll have nothing to target. Mind you, this has nothing to do with how intimidating your child looks, but with how they carry themselves. Instilling a sense confidence in our children will allow them to deter bullies. If your child is strong-minded, they cannot be broken by an insecure person. They’ll have a self-confidence and positive self-image that cannot be shaken because they truly believe in themselves and feel empowered.

What makes a person confident?

Confidence is essentially certainty or the belief that you can trust someone or something. Self-confidence is believing and trusting in yourself. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it is a decision be better and do better. Children must be exposed to confidence in order to learn confidence. They look to their role models to empower them before they learn to look inward for validation. It’s important as parents to tell our children how smart, or beautiful, or talented they are and to teach them that they can obtain anything that they work hard for. We must encourage them to try new things and develop a sense of importance.

Back in 2012, a psychologist by the name of Amy Cuddy presented a very popular Ted Talk that focused on the effectiveness of body language and power posing. She explains that our nonverbals actually speak volumes to others and ourselves. When we are proud, we naturally tend to stretch out and open up our bodies. When we are less confident, we do the opposite and make ourselves small. When you’re alone, all you have to do is assume high-power poses for about two minutes, even when you don’t feel very confident, and your body will respond with real confidence. This talk was directed towards adults when facing interviews or other stressful situations that might require a little extra confidence, but who says this can’t apply to children?

What’s the best way to instill confidence in a child?

Although there are many options as far as how a child can gain confidence, physical activities and training like martial arts would be one of the best choices. The discipline that a child learns during martial arts training allows them to gain a sense of control. It requires kids to focus on their goal and using their abilities to achieve that goal. Teaching a child to master his or her body allows them to find that independence that they need.

Many powerful poses and stances are taught during martial arts training, so imagine the incredible effect that these classes could have on your child. Every single class provides them with techniques that focus on posture and poised behavior. Every sparring match allows your child to perform under pressure, which is a huge benefit and skill that must be used throughout life. Your child will take the confidence learned from martial arts and carry it with them in everyday life.

How will children be affected by martial arts overall?

Your children will be walking tall with their heads held high, owning the confidence that they’ve developed. Although confidence can easily become arrogance, the martial arts also teach humbleness and sportsmanship. This is an extremely important characteristic to have because, without humbleness, your child could easily become the bully. Be sure to keep your child down to earth as their confidence soars.

In addition to the confidence that they will have gained, they’ll obviously acquire some useful techniques in combat. While violence is never the goal in martial arts, in the worse case scenario, your child will be able to defend themselves if they are ever threatened. Let’s face it, you’ll always have those alphas in life that just want to dominate everyone. But, if your child is strong-minded, those bullies won’t be successful in making them feel small. The bully will have wasted their time trying to break the powerful human being that you’ve raised.

Prevent Bullying this School Year with Martial Arts

August 24, 2017 | 0 Comment(s)
School is just starting up and it’s an extremely busy time of the year. With the new school year comes new stress (and relief). Coordinating drop offs, pick ups, and generally just developing your family’s new routine always takes some time to get used to. Kids are also probably adjusting to new schedules and slowly, but surely, falling back into the rhythm of the school year.
Every parent wishes for smooth interactions between their kids and their classmates, anticipates new, budding friendships and prompt solutions from teachers and caregivers when things go wrong on occasion. Sadly, reality often doesn’t match these high hopes, leaving parents frustrated, confused, and angry, while children remain vulnerable to being bullied in the place where they spend most of their awake hours during the school year.

Bullying: the Reality

Bullying is a staggering problem in the U.S., where nearly 50% of children report experiencing it at least once throughout their student years. Despite of this sobering number, there are no federally mandated anti-bullying classes, nor mandatory school staff training to combat this serious epidemic. The long-lasting effects of bullying on children are not fully understood either.

The good news is: more and more schools recognize the need for radical changes, to implement educational anti bullying classes, and initiate a deeper, more appropriate conversation between the institutions and the parents to find new, working methods to make school a more welcoming, positive experience for all children.

Yet the problem persists, and it is likely to cause a few difficult moments to many parents across the nation, leaving them wondering whether or not they could do something more, preparing their children better, or help them to develop various coping mechanisms that could not only aid them against bullying, but give them important life skills for decades to come.

Martial Arts: Your Best Bet Against Bullying

You may be surprised, yet it is true: children who participate in martial arts fare much better in school and life in general. It is important to stress, however, that these classes do not teach, nor encourage the use of violence under any circumstances, and this also means that bullied children are trained to use self-defense only as an absolute last resort to stop bullying, in case of physical attack. While it is a crucial life skill to have, physical force can never be the proper solution to schoolyard conflicts.

Luckily there are other, greater benefits: instead of teaching how to stop bullying, they focus on training your child to learn valuable personal skills. The following list includes the most outstanding advantages your child could experience as a result of taking these extracurricular classes this school year.

Socialization

These classes teach excellent socialization skills: from the first moment to the last, they promote interacting in an equally polite and respectful way with teachers and other students. Being able to implement these newly acquired interpersonal skills in a school setting, your child may not only be able to completely avoid being hurt, but may become a positive example to others about using positive communication skills to stop bullying.

Conflict Resolution

It is extremely important for your child to learn that while conflicts are usually an inevitable part of life, violence and harming others are not. Under no circumstances it is acceptable to hurt others, physically or otherwise. These classes teach children to be more resilient, to be able to take the hardships of life without reacting in negative and improper ways, to not to worry so much about the effects of bullying, rather, conduct themselves in ways that help to avoid or solve conflicts, instead of allowing them to escalate any further.

Self-Confidence

It is generally true: children that display a healthy dose of self-confidence are less likely to be targeted by bullies. These classes are known to help kids to feel more positive about their abilities: by teaching them to bravely face their fears, by allowing them to master their skills in challenging situations, and by letting them feel accomplished every time they overcome self-doubt, they become more ready each day to handle difficult tasks in school, with peers, and virtually in all areas of life.

Discipline

Developing self-discipline further enhances one’s ability to masterfully guide all thoughts and actions towards accomplishing the desired goals. By meticulously building new routines and skills, these classes can help your child to aim high, remain persistent, and never give up on their dreams, regardless of what difficulties may come their way. This is an incredibly important skill to have when dealing with negative classmates who may make fun of your child, not see the benefit in hard work and delayed satisfaction.

Focus

A slightly different skill from discipline, focus helps a child to remain in the moment, pay attention to their breathing, slow down, and treat the next course of action as their primary responsibility. By helping them to not to be scattered, these classes are known to help children to improve their academic skills and grades as well, creating well-rounded individuals who are capable to respond to the various, ongoing challenges and requirements of school and life in a healthy and balanced way.

Patience

An important skill these classes usually focus on building is the art of learning to be patient. In our modern world even children are conditioned to expect immediate results and instant gratification, yet the most successful ones in school and life are indeed the ones who learn to relax, not push too hard, and be able to just wait for the good things to show up that they have worked so hard for. Assuming this attitude may become your child’s best bet during difficult times with peers.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it provides some insight into the vast benefits martial arts classes can offer your child to avoid being bullied.

If you would like to learn more about the US Government’s Anti Bullying Campaign online, please visit www.StopBullying.gov

Activities to Help Your Child’s Social Skills

June 10, 2016 | 0 Comment(s)

You want your kids to grow up confident and socially aware. In order to help your child develop vital social skills, it is important for them to take part in activities that allow them to learn confidence and how to interact with others. Here are 5 great activities to help your child learn the social skills they need to be successful.

Number 1: Summer Camp

There are hundreds of summer camps available across the country that teach children a myriad of skills. From summer writing camps to wilderness camps there is something out there for every child to lean new skills, make new friends, and learn how to interact with both other kids and adults. These camps can really boost confidence and help children learn how to navigate making friends and solving problems on their own. Summer camps can also teach children great skills that will help them succeed in life such as coping with homesickness, being a leader, surviving in the wilderness, and first aid.

Number 2: Children’s Theater Groups

Theater is all about being social. It teaches kid’s how to be part of a group, how to interact well with others, and how to read social situations more effectively. Children’s theater groups are a great place for kids to break out of their comfort zones, work off extra energy, and most importantly, to form lifelong friendships. Theater also helps children learn effective communication skills, and how to value the differences they find in themselves, and in others.

Number 3: Community Sports Teams

Community sports teams are a great place for children to lean important social skills like working with others, accepting disappointments, sportsmanship, and how to handle conflict. They also boost self-confidence, and can really help your kid’s learn how to work toward their goals. Sports also help children learn how to be responsible, healthy, and active in their social and personal lives.

Number 4: Boys/Girl’s Scouts

Scouts is a great way to help your children learn how to make friends, learn new skills, serve their community, and solve problems. Scouts is a great opportunity for many children who are shy become socially successful; it helps children gain confidence and be good team members.  Boy and girl scouts also help kids learn important skills that will help them become kind, skilled adults who are ready to work with others in their careers.

Number 5: Martial Arts

Martial arts is a wonderful sport that teaches discipline and respect. When children participate in these sports they directly interact with others, learn to control their bodies and their minds, and learn how to have respect for themselves and others. It is a wonderful way for children to learn how to be a good friend, a good team member, and gracious opponent.  Not only do classes like karate, capoeira, kung-fu and taekwondo teach confidence, discipline, and respect but they also teach kids how to respond to bullying in a healthy, non-violent manner. Children who are involved in martial arts learn how to be healthy in both their bodies and their minds.

Being part of a team, or a group of children their age can help your kids connect to others in a way that a school setting cannot provide. These activities are a great way for your children connect to other people, gain confidence, and respond to negativity and conflict in an effective, healthy manner.

Ways To Help Your Child Overcome Bullying

September 16, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

It can be difficult for parents to know if their child is a victim of bullying and to take decisive action to protect him or her. Children are often ashamed at what they perceive to be their own problem, so they may not confide in their families. It is up to parents to identify the signs of bullying, provide support and take steps to help prevent the situation in the future.

Common signs of a child who is bullied include:

  • Reluctance to go to school. When a child who previously enjoyed school suddenly begins complaining of frequent stomachaches or other ailments to avoid going, this could be sign of bullying.
  • Reluctance to get on the school bus. If the bus is the location of bullying, children may lobby for parents to drive them to school or even ask if they can walk or ride a bike.
  • Sudden withdrawal from friends. If a former friend is the bully, a child may not want to be part of a group anymore.

Parents who suspect that children are being bullied have several options to help their child cope with the situation, including:

  • Enlist the help of school officials. Approaching teachers, principals and others in the role of seeking help rather than accusing can allow parents to gain allies. A good way to do this is to ask teachers what they have observed and listen to their responses.
  • See if there are other victims of the same bully. A little investigation can help uncover other children who are afraid of or dislike the bully in question, which may help parents determine what is happening or why their child is a target.
  • Assess the child’s strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what is setting the bully off may help parents uncover reasons for bullying. At the same time, parents can help children play up their strengths so that they have better self-esteem, which is often an antidote for bullying.
  • Create a safe haven for children to vent. Telling a child that he or she “should not feel that way” or that the child simply needs to “grow up” will likely shut down lines of communication. Children should always have a safe place to vent in their own homes.
  • Seek counseling. Some bullying problems are very serious. If a child shows any sign of depression or rage, counseling should be considered.

Parents can be a child’s strongest ally in the fight against bullying. By following some commonsense tips, parents can turn a negative bullying experience into a positive growth opportunity for a child.

How to Respond to Verbal Bullying

February 9, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

teen-attitude

 

Verbal bullying is an all too common event that children face both in and out of school.

This situation happens most commonly in school but it can also happen outside of school hours at sports events, parties and other areas where teens congregate.

Knowing what to do and how to respond to verbal bullying is something that all teens, children and parents must learn.

 

Leave the Situation

Whenever possible, someone who is being verbally bullied should leave the situation if it is possible to do so safely. Leaving the area before the situation escalates can help to avoid serious physical injury.

Walking away without saying a word may sometimes be the best way to respond to verbal bullying.

 

Preparing to Respond

When walking away from the bullying is not possible, teens may need to come up with a verbal response to the bully. Strategizing about what to say to the bully can help things go as smoothly as possible. Having a plan can help a teen prevent overreactions and can lead to enhanced self-confidence.

Practicing ahead of time can help a teen when such a situation arises.

 

The Response

Maintaining a steady voice, making eye contact with the bully and speaking in a confident way are essentials for a good response to verbal bullying. Teens can try to diffuse the situation by using these types of responses:

  • Fogging. This is done to confuse the bully. Fogging responses include a single word or just a few words that are neutral or positive. Examples of fogging responses to a bully include “so?”, “who cares?” and “maybe.”
  • Agreeing statements. These statements confirm the facts regarding the verbal bullying. An example of an agreeing statement is, “Yes, you’re right.”
  • Comeback lines. These responses are meant to stump the bully and make him or her think twice about his or her actions. Comeback lines may include statements such as, “whatever you say.”

Responses to verbal bullying should not try to incite anger or escalate the situation. Using a comeback line can be tricky; this type of response requires careful practice and assessment of the situation to ensure that the situation does not worsen.

 

Verbal Bullying: What it is and how to stop it

February 2, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

bullying_1

 

Verbal bullying is a serious issue that many children and teenagers face. In order to put a stop to this type of abuse, parents, teachers and members of the community must first understand what it is.

Once a verbal bullying situation is recognized, a variety of strategies can be used to stop it before the situation worsens.

 

What Verbal Bullying Is

Verbal bullying is most often committed by girls. It may consist of rumor spreading, using words that demean or degrade the victim or using words that cause social exclusion.

It may also be done as a way to dominate others. This type of bullying is just as damaging as physical bullying and can lead to serious effects for the victim, including an increased risk of suicide.

 

Ways Kids Can Stop Verbal Bullying

There are several responses and actions that kids can take that may help to put an end to verbal bullying. Some things to try include:

  • Using neutral statements. Responding to a bully’s verbal assaults with neutral comments such as “possibly” or “maybe so” indicates to the bully that he or she isn’t going to get a big reaction from the victim.
  • Using positive or agreeing statements. Examples of these include “who cares?” or “Yes, you’re right.”
  • Remaining civil. Don’t sink to the level of the bully. Doing so may escalate the situation.
  • Telling an authority figure. Bullying that interferes with a child’s social life, confidence, well-being and mental or physical health must be reported to an authority figure as soon as possible. An authority figure may be someone like a teacher, school counselor, school nurse, playground aide, tutor or parent.

Once a parent, teacher or another authority figure is made aware of a verbal bullying situation, action must be taken. An authority figure may be able to physically separate the bully from his or her victim.

The authority figure may be able to increase awareness of the effects of bullying and help others to identify such behaviors in the classroom, cafeteria and other places.

Adults can also help to diffuse the situation by determining what the motivating factors behind the bully’s behaviors are.

 

2014 Bullying Statistics Recently Revealed

January 19, 2015 | 0 Comment(s)

With the prevalence of technology, today’s bullying not only includes in-person threats and physical violence but also the online world of cyber bullying. The most recent 2014 bullying statistics may shock parents, educators and the community due to the widespread prevalence of this sometimes deadly behavior.

 

The Who and Where of Bullying

According to a study by UCLA, 20 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 have experienced bullying, as have 28 percent of students in grades 6 through 12. Most bullying behaviors take place in the classroom.

This is where 29.3 percent of those who were bullied experienced the event. Other common places where bullying occurs include in the hallways and locker areas, where 29.0 percent experienced bullying; 23.4 percent were bullied in the cafeteria; 19.5 percent were bullied in gym class and 12.2 percent were bullied in the bathroom.

 

bullying_1Types of Bullying

The most common type of bullying behavior in schools is name calling. This is followed by teasing, rumor spreading, physical assaults, isolation, threats, stealing and sexual harassment.

Although cyber bullying was the least common type of bullying, it does deserve special attention because of its reach. Rather than a few people witnessing an in-person bullying event, cyber bullying can attract the attention of hundreds or even thousands of witnesses and the event can persist on the Internet for years.

 

Bullying Targets

Anyone who is different makes an easy target for bullying. More than 90 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth experience bullying.

Students with Asperger’s syndrome and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder are also common targets of bullies. Students who are overweight, have a striking physical feature or dress differently than their peers may also find themselves the targets of bullies.

Of those who are bullied, only 20 to 30 percent report the events to teachers, parents or school counselors.

 

Witnesses of Bullying

Bullying affects the entire school. More than 70 percent of students in grades 6 through 12 have witnessed bullying. When someone intervenes within ten seconds of a bullying event, the bullying stops more than 57 percent of the time.

Parents, teachers and the community can come together to change these bullying statistics for the better. When adults demonstrate cooperation and setting good examples, children in turn will follow these positive behaviors. It will take time, but it can happen.

Armed with the 2014 bullying statistics, parents and educators can see what they need to look out for in order to put a stop to bullying.

 

Tips for Talking to Your Kids about Bullying

December 22, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Today’s parents don’t have to look very far to find examples of bullying. It seems as if stories of bullying can be read about in the newspaper or seen on TV almost every day.

However, the subject of bullying can be challenging to approach with children. Whether a child is in preschool or a senior in high school, parents want to ensure that their kids are safe and confident enough to stand up to bullies. These simple tips can make having the conversation about bullying a little easier.

 

Define Bullying

When parents try to talk to young children about bullying, many kids might not even understand what that word actually means. Other children believe that harassment needs to be physical before it can be classified as bullying.

If parents want to open the lines of communication about bullying, it’s important for kids to understand what all is incorporated into that term. Bullying can consist of:

• Repeated verbal insults
• Continuing threats
• Physical actions like pushing, hitting or kicking
• Social manipulation such as purposeful exclusion or spreading rumors
• Cyberbullying through texts, websites or social media
• Other repeated activities that make a student feel threatened and unsafe

Ask the Right Questions

It’s usually not easy for children and teens to talk about bullying with their parents. Bullying can make students feel helpless, so they might not feel comfortable asking for assistance from parents or teachers.

Asking the right questions can be integral in helping students be honest about what’s happening. Instead of asking them if they are being bullied, try asking “What’s the best thing that happened to you at school today?”, “What’s the worst thing that happened to you at school today?” or “Who do you sit with at lunch time and play with at recess?”

The answers to these questions can provide helpful insights into a student’s day to day life at school.

 

Keep Communication Open

Even if a child isn’t being bullied currently, his situation could change drastically next week.

That’s one of the many reasons why it’s so important for parents to keep the lines of communication open with their children. Every conversation doesn’t need to be serious and teaching major life lessons.

When kids and teens feel comfortable sharing the little details of their days with their parents, they will be more apt to come to their parents when larger issues like bullying arise.

What is Bystander Mobilization?

November 24, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Coorperation

Bullying and harassment among children and teens have become a hot-button issue in contemporary society as a rash of suicides have swept the country. The victims may feel like they have nowhere to turn and act out by harming themselves.

In response to this crisis, an emerging practice that empowers other students to put an end to bullying has started gaining traction. While bystander mobilization might be encouraged by teachers and other adult authority figures, the ability to put a stop to bullying is left in the hands of the students.

 

The Bystander Effect

Students often feel powerless to stop a peer who they witness bullying others. In the moment, they may fear that speaking up will turn the bully’s attention on them. As such, they don’t take any action, especially if there are other students watching the bullying occur.

This is referred to as the “bystander effect,” in which people do not go out of their way to help others in distress when there are other witnesses to an event. In instances of bullying, bystanders – especially children – don’t want to get involved and single themselves out.

Afterward, they may feel upset, stressed or guilty over what happened, even if they were only watching what was going on.

 

Bystander Mobilization

Bystander mobilization is a way of turning that weakness into a form of strength. It asks witnesses to call out the bully and his or her behavior during the act itself, whether it’s taking place in front of them, down the hall or even online.

The child is encouraged to address the victim and make sure that they are all right, while also pointing out that the actions of the bully are wrong to other children watching. In some instances, they may encourage other bystanders to leave so that the bully doesn’t have an audience and thus the attention they crave.

When one person speaks out, it becomes easier for others watching to speak out against the bully.

 

Bystander Mobilization – it takes courage and ethics

Stepping forward and showing a bully that their behavior is damaging and dangerous takes courage, but it can be immensely rewarding for children of all ages. By addressing the act of bullying in the moment, they can help de-escalate and stop harassment before it causes long-term physical or psychological harm.

Bystander mobilization can also give children and teens greater experience with confidence and empathy, making it less likely that they will simply ignore bullying that they witness in the future.

 

Bullying and depression

November 10, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Bullying and depression often go hand in hand for both the victims as well as the bullies. People who experience cyber bullying are at an even greater risk of developing clinical depression.

Fortunately, there are ways that parents can take action by being attentive to the warning signs and helping their children learn ways to stand up for themselves and develop strong self-esteem.

 

Links Between Bullying and Depression

Psychologists and child development experts have established many links between bullying and depression in children. The depression that results from being bullied may last for many years and can even linger after the bullying behaviors are stopped.

Children who have experienced cyber bullying may develop more serious symptoms of depression, especially if the bullying is perpetrated by anonymous individuals.

Some of the additional effects of being bullied include:fear-of-failure

  • Anxiety
  • Physical illness, aches and discomfort
  • Low self-esteem
  • Decreased participation in extra-curricular activities and hobbies
  • Increased absence rate from school

 

Symptoms of Depression in Children

While some of the symptoms of depression in children are similar to the symptoms that adults experience, children may also react in other ways. Children may show more physical symptoms of depression.

Signs parents, caregivers and teachers should look for in the victims of bullying include:

  • Unexplained outbursts of crying or anger
  • Changes in sleep patterns, including increased sleepiness or insomnia
  • Not being able to concentrate on school work or tasks
  • Sudden changes in appetite or eating habits
  • Increased tiredness, fatigue and slow movement
  • Giving away of favorite or prized possessions
  • Withdrawing from social situations
  • Increased restlessness and anxiousness
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Increased talk of death and mentions of suicide

 

Taking Action to Prevent Bullying

Frequent communication with a child who is experiencing bullying is key to identifying the symptoms of depression. Parents along with teachers and other professionals can take steps to prevent bullying and depression that follows.

Physicians and school counselors can help parents and children gain access to the care and resources they need for overcoming the effects of bullying. In some cases, individual or family counseling may be recommended.

Any parent or professional who feels that their child is in immediate danger should treat the situation as a medical emergency and contact the appropriate local authorities for urgent assistance.

Bullying does not have to be a rite of passage for children if parents and teachers take action to end it.