Welcome to part 1 of our special blog post regarding overcoming bullying through a change in mindset.
Changing the bullying culture
Unfortunately, everyone has a story when it comes to bullying. As a parent and martial arts instructor, I continually here about bullying incidents.
As adults, we have an opportunity to change the culture of bullying among young people – they cannot make the change themselves. By reaching out to young people who bully, or are being bullied, we can create a change in mindset that is meaningful and lasting.
Recently, I made some time for a primary school boy (Jack – not his real name) that was having a tough time with a bully. As occurrence of the attacks were on the increase, I offered to intervene. However, the intervention wasn’t directed at the bully; instead I met with Jack, who was being bullied.
Negating bullying through role play
I invited Jack to our gym for a chat. I wanted to know about the bully’s approach, and in particular, what the bully verbally and physically did when he attacked. My aim was to show Jack, that he could deploy some simple but effective strategies, to negate the physical engagement of the bully.
Despite having martial arts experience as a student of another training facility, Jack had not been taught basic defensive skills. Nor had Jack been gifted with real life examples of how to deal with bullying.
Jack talked me through the exact physical approach of the bully. I then preceded to show Jack, how he could stop the bully from attacking further. We then role played the scenarios, until Jack understood the effectiveness of the technique.
I did not make the scenarios scary or uncomfortable. Instead, I made our role play realistic and empowering. By showing Jack that he had the capacity to deal with the bully, Jack’s demeanor changed. I could see the weight lifting off Jack’s shoulders.
Overcoming bullying by building confidence
The fact is, bully’s tend to pick on young people who are much like themselves. Those who lack confidence, have troubles at home or suffer from learning and/or social difficulties tend to be victimised.
Empowering kids and teens to deal with a bully creates and builds confidence. Confidence is typically displayed through an assertive voice and the way in which we hold ourselves through our posture. If we can change the mindset of a young person who is being bullied, by making them feel empowered and therefore confident, they tend to fall from the radar of the bully.
It has been almost a month since I met with Jack, for an hour on one Saturday. To date, there have been no further incidents of bullying directed towards him. By giving Jack the tools to maintain his own safety, I have helped change his mindset for good.
Personally, I was humbled and extremely happy to have contributed to Jack’s well-being and development, and hope that I have made a difference in his life.
If you are looking at providing you child or teen with some skills that will build assertiveness, awareness and confidence, then check out our Junior Tigers Program or our Anti-bullying and Assertiveness Workshop.