At Farrell’s U.S. Martial Arts, we follow the Tenets of Taekwondo. These are values we work to instill in our students both inside and outside of the dojang (school). One of these values is “indomitable spirit.”
What does indomitable spirit mean? Simply stated, to rise above and persevere.
Our world can be cruel and unjust, judgmental and biased, vindictive and scary. We see all-too-often instances of bullying played out on social media and heard through the school grapevine.
As a parent, it’s our responsibility to teach our children how to handle themselves in any situation – how to be resilient. Of course, we would all hope our children will never have to deal with a bully, but life happens and we can’t control that. We can, however, teach our children how to accept it and rise above.
So if your child is faced with a situation of bullying, teach them the following to rise above:
- It’s Not You, It’s Them. Bullies thrive on putting down others. They usually have underlying issues that they are taking out on others. Teach your children that being bullied can be a sign of their greatness, because bullies tend to envy in others what they are lacking in themselves. The more impact we make, the harder we experience pushback from others.
- Reach Out. When confronted with a situation, teach your child to reach out to a trusted adult, such as a teacher, parent, or mentor, to tell them of consistent bullying to bring awareness.
- Don’t React. Many bullies thrive off the reactions of their victims. Showing them you are not affected (as difficult as it may be) by their words shows strength and confidence, something bullies are lacking.
- Don’t Make Yourself a Target. Teach your children not to make themselves a target by talking and standing with confidence. Also teach them about not instigating bullying, which could mean the vocabulary they use and the actions they make. Taunting and teasing could instigate bullying and is not how we want our children to act.
- Stand Up. Teach your child to stand up to bullying, not stand by it. Too often we see people ignore a bullying situation and just let it happen. The more children (and adults) stand up together, the smaller the bully. This could be as simple as reaching out to an adult to stop the situation.
TKD Tip: Talk to your children about bullying and what a bully may do or how they may act or talk. Many times, children that bully others don’t always realize that’s what they are doing. Make sure they understand it can be both physical and verbal. These are lessons that need to be taught early before long-term bad habits are established.
Parent/Child Activity: Ask your child to brainstorm and write down (or you write down) signs of bullying and things they can do in each of those situations. This will help them learn when it is appropriate to step in and when it is appropriate to reach out to an adult. Knowing these will help make your child more confident acting on any of these situations.