Helping Your Child Face Down Bullies

By Jerry Bola

Childhood bullying has become such a widespread problem that one Wisconsin community even proposed levying $1,000 fines against the parents of bullies.

In most cases, though, bullied children can’t count on help from their city councils, so it’s often up to their parents to help them find solutions. In extreme situations, fighting back might be the answer, but that should be a last resort, says a martial arts instructor who has taught young people how to face bullies.

You can learn to bob and weave, and to deliver punishing blows, and when it comes to self defense that’s all very important, but what is perhaps even more important is the confidence that comes with martial arts training. That confidence alone is often enough to help you stand up to bullies without ever actually fighting them.

Bullying doesn’t just present momentary problems for young people. It can create serious health concerns, including physical injury, social and emotional distress, and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Victims are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment, the CDC reports, and bullies themselves are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood. For parents of children who face harassment at school or on the playground, try these tips:

Tell the child they can be assertive without being violent

Bullies tend to prey on those they can easily push around, emotionally or physically. That’s why it’s important to let them know they can’t push you around. This is where the confidence that martial arts training provides plays a significant role. Children who know they can defend themselves if it comes to that can much more easily look a bully in the eye and brush off their taunts without letting things escalate. They are able to stay calm as they speak to the bully.

Let the bullied child know you support them

It’s important for children to know you will listen to them and do all you can to help them. Counselors often remind parents that they shouldn’t place blame on the child by asking questions such as, “Did you do something that might have made them bully you?” That wrongly puts the blame on the victim.

Encourage them to report the problem

If the bullying is happening at school, the child should let a teacher, school administrator or other adult know. The parent can also contact someone at the school to discuss what is happening so action can be taken. Getting your child involved in an activity that they can become good at—playing baseball, learning a musical instrument, joining a swim team—can also serve to help improve their confidence and self-esteem.

I am a big believer in martial arts as one such option. It gets you in shape physically and mentally. As you transform your body, you’ll also transform your mind to be more focused, more disciplined and more aware. You’ll build the confidence to know you have what it takes not only to stand up against bullies, but to overcome any challenge in life.

Jerry Bola, a martial arts instructor, is the creator of Martial Art Extreme, a DVD training program designed to help people build confidence, deal with bullies, lose weight and
stay fit. Bola has practiced martial arts for nearly 40 years. He previously worked as
a correctional officer, but now is a real estate agent and building contractor when he’s not giving martial arts instruction.

Want It In Print?

We now offer matted and framed copies of articles upon request.

Anton Media Staff
In addition to its arts and entertainment publication Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group publishes 16 community newspapers, several magazines, specialty publications and websites. With brands dating back to 1877, Anton has a commitment to deliver trusted and relevant content to the communities it serves.

Leave a Reply




Get To Know The Cast Of CBS’ Hit Show Mom

Whether they’re eating at their popular hangout spot Burgundy Bistro or are attending one of their weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Bonnie and Christy Plunkett,...

Mimi Kennedy Wants Mom’s Legacy To Show Others That There Is Always Hope

Comedic actress takes on role of the nurturer on long-running CBS sitcom Actress Mimi Kennedy has had quite the career these past four decades. She...

Playing At The Altar Of Led Zeppelin

No Quarter to perform pair of Long Island shows http:// When drummer John Bonham unexpectedly passed away at the age of 32 on Sept. 25, 1980,...

Nothing Beats Mom’s Cooking

Comfort dishes that taste like home Chock it up to good old fashion nostalgia, but there are few things more comforting in life than mom’s...

Stop & Shop Donates Five Tons of Fresh Produce to Long Island Cares

Stop & Shop  donated five tons of fresh produce to Long Island Cares to assist  Long Beach senior citizens. The fresh fruits and vegetables...