One of the most difficult challenges we can face as a parent is to help our child develop the appropriate social skills necessary to deal with a bully.
Let’s face it. We all have to learn how to interact with others in a complex variety of relationships and settings. We begin to acquire these skills almost from birth. Each attempt to communicate our needs elicits a response from our parents and we slowly learn to adapt our self centered behavior to incorporate the needs of other people.
But these skills don’t happen by accident. Children begin life being engaged with and interested in the people around them but are largely incapable of empathy. In other words, they lack the social skills required to put themselves in another person’s place, to recognize their impact and consider the feelings of others.
Bullies often share some common characteristics. They are most often focused on themselves and try to intimidate other people. In general, they have poor social skills and questionable judgment. They seem to have no empathy or interest in other people’s feelings.
Most bullies think they are cool and in control but others put people down to make themselves feel good because they are insecure. When your child is faced with a bully, the following are some behaviors that can help:
  • Practice being confident: ways to you can practice ways to respond to a bully verbally or through your behavior both by yourself and with a friend or a parent. The most effective thing you can do is to practice feeling good about you, about being confident about who you are.
  • Talk about it: if you are being bullied it can help to talk to a parent, a teacher, or a friend about your feelings and frustrations. It’s always a good idea to ask for help when you feel insecure or threatened.
  • Don’t get angry, walk away: When someone is bullying you it’s tempting to get angry and fight back. But if you don’t respond and walk away, sooner or later they will probably get tired of harassing you. Be confident and walk away proudly. Body language like this sends them a message that you’re not vulnerable.
If you know, or suspect, that your child is being bullied, you can help them to build the confidence to walk away and learn to deal with the situation appropriately. Martial arts training can help them to develop the necessary skills to stand up to bullying with self confidence and a thoughtful response.