19 October 2011

"ASK HRJR!" Topic: Bullying


I do what I do because I enjoy helping people. I have dedicated my life to facing the good, the bad, and the ugly; find a way to process and rationalize it, and then share those rationalizations with people hoping they can find some peace and or an easier way to go. I was asked the following by a young woman whose son is being bullied.

Hey I need advice ... I'm a single mom and my son's dad is a dead beat. My son is being bullied in school. The teacher knows and separated the kids, supposedly the other parent was notified. My son is in no way a fighter. He had an anxiety attack when I dropped him off at school, because of fear. I keep telling him he's gonna have to do what he needs to and stand up to this bully but he won't any suggestions?

Bullied Boy's Mad Momma

Dear Bullied Boy's Mad Momma,

Your son has to learn both confidence and HOW to defend himself. Things like discipline, esteem and confidence must be taught and instilled before and so that they can be used and then converted into SELF-discipline, SELF-esteem & SELF-confidence.

My advice ... Find a REALLY good karate school. One that offers a good physical fitness and practical self-defense program. Considering your son's father is - shall we say ... "inactive," definitely look for a school with a lot of positive young male students older than him and male Senseis (teachers) who give kids quality attention.

I used to manage a karate school. I have seen kids like your son come in low in confidence and bullied in school. After the first couple of months, when they accustomed to the flow, they changed. They were more outgoing and confident. Most importantly, few of them ever had to actually defend themselves. Those that did were capable of doing so.

The next thing I would advise is that you attempt to speak with the other child's parents. However, I must warn you that this may prove to be very difficult. The school may be uncooperative in sharing the other kid's parents' contact information. When we were kids, there were times when parents would get involved and mediate the situation. Old school fathers would lace the boys up in boxing gloves and let them handle it. I remember being picked on and having my father show up at the playground and tell me to deal with the bully or deal with him. I held my own with the bully.

If you can communicate with the other parents then perhaps together you can work something out. Other than that, teach your child how to defend himself and surround him with people who are high in confidence. It will certainly rub off on him.