How to recognize the tell signs your child is involved in bullying (directly or indirectly) and how Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can help…
As parents, we hope that our children are fully insulated from the negative effects that bullying leaves on the lives of children, but we see more and more that our hopes might not get us very far. In order for children to learn how to stand up against bullying, they need the help of the adults in their lives. This starts with parents just like you, who become aware of the real threats of bullying and accept the responsibility to do something more for their children. Efforts to stop bullying involve a constant process of awareness of your child’s activities, interests, friends, and experiences.
Bullying is a real and present risk for children across many different platforms. They face the dangers of verbal, physical, social and emotional bullying, as well as cyberbullying. Practically every child is at risk for becoming the victim of a bully, a bystander to the bullying, or the bully and none of these roles are immune to negative and long-lasting effects.
As we discuss the dangers of bullying for our youth, it is important to understand that this three separate roles your child can have when it comes to bullying behaviors:
Bullying is not the school rite of passage some might perceive it to be. It is a real, impactful, concerning trend that parents, teachers, and communities need to address. In terms of bullying, each of the roles [bully, victim, bystander] carries strong potential for impactful, harmful consequences. Not even the child demonstrating the bullying behavior is immune to the dangers, and in fact, he or she might have even more challenges finding the help he or she needs.
Is my child being bullied? The Warning Signs
No matter which type of bullying your child might be experiencing, the outward signs can range from mild and almost imperceptible to significant and severe. The key thing to remember is that some of the most devastating effects are internal and might not be as obvious.
Physical Warning Signs
▪ Torn or ripped clothing
▪ Bruising, scratching, or other injuries
▪ Bed-wetting or other interruptions in typical sleep patterns and habits
▪ Changes in eating habits (overeating, refusing meals, signs of bulimia or other eating disorders)
▪ Poor physical health or complaints of headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, etc.
▪ Dramatic changes in the way he/she dresses
▪ Increasing lack of attention to personal hygiene
Social and Emotional Warning Signs
▪ Reluctance or refusal to go to school
▪ Withdrawing from extracurricular activities
▪ Spending less time with friends
▪ Spending increasing time in isolation (locking bedroom door, spending more time alone in evenings, etc.)
▪ Loss of interest in hobbies and other interests
▪ Significant changes in relationships
▪ Expressions of fear or anxiety when talking about certain situations such as school, friends, or activities
▪ Changes in behavior around technology (signs of tension when using the computer, anxiety when getting text messages, etc.)
▪ Increased negative self-perception
▪ Hiding technology (closing the screen when you walk into the room, refusing to give passwords, etc.)
▪ Demanding changes in routines (taking a new route to school, leaving earlier or later, etc.)
▪ Using inappropriate and uncharacteristic language
▪ Yelling, crying, and having more emotional outbursts
How to tell if my child is the Bully?
It can be very hard to wrap your brain around the idea that your child might be the offender – the one using bullying behaviors – but it is extremely important to look for the following warning signs. Knowledge is power, and if your child is the one wearing the bullying shoes, it is time to help them acknowledge their negative behaviors, get to the root of the real issues, and learn to make positive decisions and amends to the victims.
The Warning Signs
Many of the above signals and signs could indicate that your child is acting as the bully, but there are a few other additional warning signs which every parent should learn.
▪ Your child excludes others from play or social settings, either subtly or overtly
▪ Your child continues inappropriate or negative behavior, even after you have addressed the problems and made sure your child was aware of how that behavior makes others feel
▪ Your child is extremely worried about being popular
▪ Your child is intolerant of others who are different in some way (race, gender, ability/disability, etc.)
▪ You have witnessed your child tease or taunt other children
▪ You have heard others complain about your child’s behavior
▪ Your child is boastful about his/her own accomplishments and belittling towards those of others
▪ Your child is defiant towards teachers, coaches, and other figures of authority
My Child is the Bystander – What Do I Do?
The bystander to bullying might be someone who lacks the confidence and courage to speak up, or someone who even “eggs on” the bully. Either way, the bystander who does nothing about the situation often suffers and contributes to suffering.
A child who is a bystander to bullying will often display some of the same warning signs as both the victim and the bully, depending upon the specific type of involvement in the situation. The most important thing to remember is that the bystander is affected by the situation – and has the power to influence the situation.
▪ Encourage your child to stand up for others in all situations
▪ Demonstrate compassion and empathy
▪ Talk about ways to help others – role play situations that your child might encounter
▪ Make sure that the adults in the situation are aware of the bullying – both on the side of the bully and the victim
How to Help
This knowledge might be power, but knowledge can also be overwhelming and stressful especially for parents trying to do the right thing for their children. You can take this knowledge you about to learn about the reality of bullying for today’s youth and empower yourself. Now that you know and understand that these risks are real, remember your child could be in any of the three roles and in all of these instances need help and guidance to improve their lives.
At RABJJ Academy, we are committed to our students and to helping families grow. We firmly believe that through Jiu- Jitsu children can become equipped to prevent and effectively deal with bullying situations. We are passionate about our instruction and opportunities, and want you to consider how Jiu-Jitsu training can help your child overcome challenges and build a better tomorrow.
We have put together a very useful resource for you “Parents Toolkit to Bullying” and as an added bonus you will get a FREE class pass for your child and family at any of our locations.
Seek resources. Some children might require medical services such as counseling. Resources such as martial arts programs aim to teach children about the internal measures they can develop to combat negativity from bullies and to rebuild self-esteem, confidence, and strength – of mind, body, and soul.
Remember, too, that at RABJJ Academies we are dedicated to using Jiu-Jitsu to help all members of our communities – including children – to reach their fullest potential and make real, positive changes in their lives.
The Value of Martial Arts as a Tool for Youth
Some people might think that martial arts are pursued because kids need to learn how to physically defend themselves against physical bullying. While there are benefits from learning self-defense for anyone, the value of martial arts goes far beyond this surface benefit.
Martial arts can give children opportunities to:
▪ Build confidence and self-esteem
▪ Develop a deep sense of personal responsibility
▪ Experience personal growth
▪ Learn how to work well with others
▪ Develop leadership skills
▪ Accept failure as opportunities for learning
▪ Embrace challenges
▪ Learn how to set goals – and achieve them
▪ Develop a strong sense of respect for others
▪ Build a solid work ethic
▪ Develop strong communication skills
▪ Become service-oriented
If these are the kinds of skills and opportunities you believe can help your child – in combating bullying and in life – we agree. We take seriously our role in helping to develop strong, healthy, positive, service-oriented members of communities – and it all starts with the kids.
If you would like more information about how RABJJ Academy can help please click on the banner below to learn more about us.