Bullying has become an all too accepted fact of childhood. The way that we deal with bullying is changing, but not quickly enough to save the lives of some bullying victims. The hesitance of children to confide in adults is the fault ofadults; all too often adults do not take bullying seriously, or children are afraid to “bother” their parents or caregivers. Nobody wants to be the hated tattletale, or experience even worse abuse from the bully or the bully’s friends. Even more, kids fear being judged by their family and friends as being weak, helpless, or a crybaby.
Let’s talk about the signs that your child may exhibit if they are a victim of bullying:
- Injuries that cannot be explained by daily activities such as sports or other custom activities.
- Consistently losing or damaging personal possessions, electronics, or books.
- Changes in sleeping habits such as insomnia or nightmares.
- Not wanting to go to school, or in older children and unwillingness to do homework and declining grades.
- Avoiding social situations and friends that were previously enjoyed and sought after.
- Exhibiting depression, anxiety, decreased confidence, engaging in self-harming, or suicidal ideation.
- Changes in eating habits, decrease in appetite, or binge eating.
Moreover the understanding of just who is a bully is changing. The idea that bullies are edge dwellers with low self-esteem has been proven wrong. In fact, bullies are more likely to be seen by teachers and students as the cool kids while their victims are seen as social outcasts and troublemakers. Bullies have been found in some cases to exhibit intensely high self-esteem, blame others for their problems, lack empathy and compassion, and the worse their victims feel the better they feel.
Bully Proofing and Recovering from Bullying
Bully proofing your younger child and helping your older child to overcome the trauma of being bullied have a lot in common. In both cases children need to relearn the natural confidence they had as younger children. In addition they will also socialize in a controlled atmosphere with other children, some of whom have also been bullied. They will learn that they are not weak, that they are not losers, and that they are not worthless. Friends can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of a bullied child, a child with friends does not feel isolated and alone.
Martial arts taught by legitimate martial arts masters is not about teaching kids to hit or be violent, but to instill self-discipline, self-confidence, self-control, perseverance, integrity, respect, and strengthen their spirit. These are taught hand-in-hand with the physical aspect of Taekwondo. If your child has been bullied, please come talk to us and let’s start them on the road to recovery and a brighter future. If your child has not yet started school, it’s not too soon to start bully proofing them and give them a gift that will protect them for the rest of their lives. Best of all, they’ll find lots of new friends waiting to meet them.