People often think of bullying and think of one kid beating up on another kid . The fact of the matter is that bullying doesn’t start with physical violence. By the time it’s become physical then it most likely has been going on for some time.
The reason that most bullies pick on kids is because of their own low self esteem, and because they don’t feel good about themselves they want a “victim” they can control to make themselves feel good. The reason that this never starts off with physical violence is because a bully is not looking for a fight and they don’t know how their potential victim might act. Outlined below are the 3 stages that bullying situations go through.
This is called the “Initial Testing Stage”, a bully see’s a potential victim but doesn’t know if they will stand up for themselves, so they test them by starting off small by calling them a name or making fun of them some way verbally. If the child doesn’t stand up for themselves the bullying will continue and eventually escalate.
Called the “Secondary Testing Stage”, this is where the bully knows they got away with verbal teasing and will try to see how far they can push their victim and if they will stand up for themselves. Examples of this stage are flicking their ear in class, impolitely bumping into them in the hall or even stealing something from the child that doesn’t belong to them. If they child doesn’t stand up for themselves the bullying will again continue and also escalate.
This stage is call the “Dominance Stage”, this is where the bully feels that they can do anything they want to their victim and he or she will never fight back. This is where the bullying will now become physical and can become very dangerous. Standing up to the bully verbally at this point will usually not work because they bully feels total control over their victim and this will only result in more physical bullying. The only way to stop a bully at this point is to stand up for physically and defend yourself.
Training a child in the martial arts will allow them to defend themselves if it ever gets to this point. However, the goal of a good kids martial arts program’s is to build their confidence and teach them how to stand up for themselves the first time a bully tries to test them.
Real bully prevention involves empowering a child and showing them that they have the right to stand up for themselves if they are verbally or even physically attacked. The damage of long term bullying is not just the external bumps and bruises received from physical violence, its the internal damage that is far worse. This damage will not heal in a week like a cut or a bruise, but can take years to overcome.
Bullying is a real problem in every school, in fact almost every child has either been a victim to some type of bullying, or has witnessed it happen to someone else. Please feel free to share this article and help others to educate their children on just how bullying starts, and also how bad it can become if not ignored.