Fear is paralyzing, especially to a child. Bullying happens every day at every school. Many children choose to hide bullying from their parents. As the bullying continues, anger builds and has to be released. Some children vent this anger toward other children; others turn this anger on themselves. The key to ending bullying is removing the paralyzing fear that is the root of a bully’s power and learning to communicate with confidence.
A few years ago, I was asked to help a child lose weight. He had decided to end his own life and came very close. After talking with the child, I began to understand his situation. He had been bullied over his weight most of his life. The years of torment had become more than he could bear. Instead of lashing out against the other children, he turned the anger and resentment toward himself. His problem wasn’t his weight. He was an easy target that had never been given the right tools to deal with a bully.
Bullying can be verbal and/or physical. Often parents fail to realize the impact that verbal bullying can have on their children. We have all been told that words cannot hurt you- which is not true. Words can hurt. The sting of words often outlasts the bruise of a punch. Years of being told that you are fat, stupid, and/or ugly, destroys a child internally. Being bullied builds anger inside a child. Eventually the anger has to be released. That release can be directed at a bully, other children, or toward themselves.
When the anger is directed at the bully, children use whatever tools they have. Many times the bully is much larger so they decide the only way to make bullying stop is with a weapon. We teach our children many things but are lacking in teaching them social and physical skills for defending themselves. This sad reality must be addressed.
To understand what it takes to deal with a bully, you first must understand what creates one. What may people do not realize is that a bully is also a victim. They are children bullied who have turned their anger toward other children. At the root of all bullying is a child that fears for their safety. As adults, we understand that the key to dealing with a bully is to not be afraid. Whenever a child stops being agraid, the bully losses his/her power.
Children, all people for that matter, must be taught that true strength is not the ability to force others to conform to you will. It is the absence of fear that comes from the awareness that you have the ability to ensure your safety should you be forced into that situation. Dealing with bullies takes training. Once a child knows that they can deal with a bully if the situation should become physical, they have the confidence to communicate without feeling intimidated. Once a bully realizes that they have lost their power over the target they bullying stops. When dealt with properly, bullies are rarely violent. Remember, at the root of a bully is a child that is himself insecure and afraid – a victim.
David Dennis, Owner of The Pain Factory Studio, 116 Sequoia Drive, Leitchfield, KY, is a licensed in Kentucky to as a Mixed Martial Arts Instructor, Professional Trainer, and Combatives Instructor. Contact Dennis at (270) 287-3853 to scheduled lessons for your child to learn to protect himself from a bully.