October is Bullying Prevention Month and in the spirit of peace and safety it is important to really understand how bullying affects us and more importantly how it impacts our children. Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.
As we dissect the reasons and ramifications of these actions it is important to remember the following: Most kids that bully use their power and strength to control, embarrass and even harm other children. These tactics may include threats, spreading rumors, verbal abuse and physical violence. So what do we do as parents? What are the appropriate steps to take and to end the threats of bullying in a peaceful manner?
As a Professional Mixed Martial Arts Fighter and Owner of MPR Endurance, for years I've taught the tools and skills kids need to end the threats of violence and bullying. Through physical fitness and martial arts training we can teach our kids how to level the playing field and end the imbalance bullies use intimidate and control. Establishing confidence in our children is usually the most crucial step in regaining control and even preventing bullying in the first place.
There are many great programs such as Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Wrestling and MMA which can teach our children that they are worthy of defending themselves. What I mean by "being worthy" is that some children which are bullied feel that they are incapable of defending themselves. Without the foundation of Martial Arts some kids may feel incapable of managing potentially dangerous conflicts, therefore allowing these situations to get out of hand. There are many great programs and classes locally which teach self defense. It is important however to find the right program for your child. Speak with the instructors and owners about the programs they offer and even ask if you can attend or watch a class. Some martial arts studios will even let your child try a class or two free of charge.
First we start by empowering our children inside of the gym to begin to start to empower them outside of the gym.
By teaching our children how to access and identify real threats we can begin to show them how to handle these situations in a peaceful manner. Remember that communication and an early response are keys to stopping bullying in it's tracks.