Bullying happens and will continue to happen every day at school, at work, and everywhere in our communities. Most bullying or anti-bullying programs are designed to make people aware of WHAT bullying is and/or WHY people shouldn’t do it. The problem with this approach is that it often actually leads to MORE bullying. This isn’t solving a problem, it’s making it worse. Just take a quick peek online and you’ll find many studies that are proving the negative impact of these programs.
Worse yet, many schools, families, and workplaces may not realize that the majority of people do not report bullying when it happens. You may expect your child to tell you when something is wrong or bothering them, but feelings of isolation, fear or even shame can creep in and they don’t want to tell anyone. Bullies also feed into these feelings. So we are stuck in a position where we don’t even really know who to help. These individuals are left to suffer and deal with it on their own and this can lead to disastrous results.
So what can we do?
Instead of being responsive to reported problems, we need to give individuals the tools they need to deal with things to begin with. We don’t wait until we have a flat tire to start bringing a spare and a jack. So why do we wait until someone reports bullying to do something about it that gives them any real tools?
Communication should be the first area to improve because it builds trust, understanding and keeps the channels open for more future communication. No matter the age, we communicate the most with people we trust. And when we get more communication, we can spot problems or early warning signs.
After this, we have to focus on steps that can be taken to give people the confidence to deal with bullying. For kids, martial arts has been proven to be one very effective solution. Now some people worry that training kids in martial arts will make them more likely to get violent or become a bully themselves. Reality shows that this has not been true at all.
When families train at a martial arts program with professionally trained instructors, ongoing education, and a structured curriculum, the result is that they are more confident and able to avoid or walk away from bad situations. Then, if things do go to the level where they need to stop someone from hurting them, they have the skills to do it. At the end of the day we all have to make decisions on how we will equip our children and families to deal with the threats to their safety—both emotionally and physically. Be proactive and help kids avoid the negative effects of bullying in the first place.
by Jeff Dousharm, President
For additional information, contact Jeff Dousharm at Jeff@ParadigmImpactGroup.com