Recently my mind has been exercised over the issue of child bullying.
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I have a self defence (defense is the US spelling) program as a regular part of my classes that is based
on the a program called the Protective Behaviors Program that I learned
from the Victorian Police. I will be writing another child bullying
article with much more detail on that at another time.
However there is a lot of good work going on our in schools with child bullying. never the less, from time to time I still get some parents coming to me about their children having difficulty in school. This is why my mind has been set working once again.
Having been bullied as a child (in fact it was one of the reasons I took up Judo) I have done a lot of research over the years on this subject. These days we know a lot about what contributes to a person becoming a bully. Unfortunately there is still a great deal of work needed to solve the problem.
Some schools have introduced good programs such as:
Mentoring programs, where older children are expected to spend time with younger children;
Confrontation programs, where the child who has been creating problems for other children, is required, with both sets of parents and a moderator present, to confront the child or children they have been creating problems for and helped to understand the affect they are having on themselves and others;
Child to Child Mediation (my personal favorite) where the children are taught how to mediate disputes between children and under supervision mediation sessions are set up.
If your school has introduced such a child bullying program
or is thinking of doing so, I encourage you to get behind it as
much as you are able. These programs have had some very good results
but in order to maintain there effectiveness they need to be monitored
and concerned adults who have studied the program well are still
the best ones to monitor them.
Some times the only thing that can be done is for the bully to have professional counseling and sometimes you may have to force that issue.
If your school does not have a child bullying program in place, I encourage you to lobby them to do so.
The programs that schools introduce have many different names. Sometimes they are called the above, sometimes "Harm Minimization". Just because it has the right name does not mean it is any good. There are some next to useless programs out there and some that are even harmful in my opinion.
Ask questions. Read up on the available material (both from the school and other sources). Be satisfied that the program is working. If there are problems lobby and work with the school to fix them.
Many times programs are adopted because they come from the right source and are assumed to be good. This is not always true and schools are often grateful to have it pointed out to them and have help correcting it. If they are not.....
DON'T just tolerate it.
Fight to have it changed or in the worst-case change schools!!!!!!
Reachout.com has some excellent resources on this subject not to mention a who bunch of related young peoples issues.
Despite all this good work as I have said there is still an on going problem. Things like telling the teacher 'do' have some effect but often have as many bad results.
Over time the only thing that has remained constant is that confidence is the biggest factor that affects bullying.
I have asked hundreds of Martial Artist over the years and
all but one have said to me that within a very short time of them
starting Martial Arts (just about any Martial Art as much as I
would like to say that Judo is the only way), the bullying stopped
without then lifting a finger. Self-confidence was the only factor
they could put it down to.
As I said there was one exception and he said the only way it stopped for him was to beat the living daylights out of those who were picking on him.
Despite even this not all my students have eliminated bullying from their lives. The one thing in my life that was different to these students is that the ones that are still having the problem don't compete. For me that competition was judo for others it was there favorite sport.
I cannot recommend competition enough. Any competition. I encourage any parent that is concerned about bullying in their child's life to try to encourage their child into competition. If your child already competes in a team sport and is still having self confidence problems then individual competition is worth a try.
Having said all this I would like to encourage you to encourage your child into competition as soon as you think they are able. And don't forget Judo has regular competitions. There is a huge factor introduced into ones life when one has to confront an opponent who is out to score against you.