By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog
Enrolling a child in a martial arts program is one of the best actions a parent can take to prevent bullying.
Why? Because martial arts can help children on both sides of the bullying equation.
By providing benefits such as confidence, discipline, respect, self-control, leadership, stress relief, and self-defense; martial arts helps both the children who are being bullied, and the children who are bullying others. Here’s how:
How Building Up Confidence Can Stop Bullying
For Bullies: As we discussed in our post exploring the reasons why people bully, bullies often enjoy status and prestige because others fear them. They also command a lot of attention for their behavior. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by building up these children’s confidence in other arenas, so that they won’t need to resort to bullying for attention or approval.
For Kids Who Are Bullied: Bullies pick victims that they think will be easy targets. What makes an easy target? A child who seems weak, unsure of herself, or easily scared. Martial arts helps stop bullying by building up children’s confidence so that they are able to project an aura of strength and ensure that they are not perceived as easy targets.
How Reinforcing Discipline Can Prevent Bullying
For Bullies: As we discussed in our post that explored the question “why do people bully others?” — one of the factors that contributes to bullying behavior is an inconsistent approach to discipline at home. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by providing children with a clear-cut and consistent structure of discipline that helps them learn which types of behavior are acceptable and which are not.
For Kids Who Are Bullied: Victims of bullying can sometimes make things worse for themselves by acting in ways that make it easy for others to taunt or threaten them. Martial arts helps stop bullying by teaching these children the discipline to manage their own behavior in such a way that it does not in any provoke or trigger a bully.
How Increasing Respect Can Stop Bullying
For Bullies: Bullies have a strong need to be in control and exert their dominance over others. That’s one of the reasons why they bully others. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by showing these children that everyone deserves respect, and that no one deserves to be mistreated.
For Kids Who Are Bullied: Being bullied can often shatter a child’s self-esteem and lead to a low self-image and loss of self-worth. In fact, that’s one of the warning signs of bullying. Martial arts helps stop bullying by showing these children that if they want others to respect them, they first must learn to respect themselves.
How Mastering Self-Control Can Prevent Bullying
For Bullies: Children who bully others can be impulsive, hot-headed, and dominant. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by helping these kids become more aware of their own thoughts and emotions, and training them to control negative impulses that could lead to bullying behaviors.
For Kids Who Are Bullied: Victims of bullying often are not adept at recognizing what kind of behavior triggers a bully to lash out. Martial arts helps stop bullying by empowering these children to control their own behaviors in such a way that will stop a negative situation from spiraling into conflict or violence.
How Developing Leadership Skills Can Stop Bullying
For Bullies: Studies have shown that bullies lack empathy, and have also found that bullies can be more likely to develop anti-social personality disorder. This is a condition that causes people to ignore the rights and feelings of those around them. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by developing the capacity for empathy in these children.
For Kids Who Are Bullied: Bullies often target kids who are less popular. So if your child has few friends, this social isolation could put him at higher risk of being bullied. Martial arts helps stop bullying by training these children to be more sociable and helping them make friends more easily.
How Relieving Stress Can Prevent Bullying
For Bullies: Bullies lack the ability to self-regulate emotions Often, they simply don’t have a way to control their anger and frustration, which may result in severe overreactions to small provocations. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by giving them an outlet to blow off some steam. This makes it much less likely for them to take their frustration out on other kids.
For Kids Who Are Bullied: One of the effects of bullying is that bullied kids often report symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, and stomachaches. These kids are far more likely than others to report feeling physically sick because they deal with such high levels of stress that it wears down their immune system. Martial arts helps stop bullying by providing a way for these children to relieve stress through vigorous physical exercise.
How Learning Self Defense Can Stop Bullying
For Bullies: Children who bully others are often driven by the desire for power. They discover how effective it can be to use their power in an aggressive way to control and subdue others. Martial arts classes help prevent bullying by constantly emphasizing the importance of using karate for self-defense only, never for offense.
For Kids Who Are Bullied: As we mentioned above, bullies pick victims that they think will be easy targets. Martial arts classes help stop bullying by teaching children how to defend themselves. Once they are armed with this knowledge, they will naturally project a much more confident image and thus, not come across as an easy target for bullies.
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