Bullying is a nightmare to deal with at any age.
But when your child first encounters it, or keeps encountering it, what can parents do to protect them short of getting personally involved?
Our latest research surveying 1367 young people aged 15 to 24 nationally found around one in four (23%) school students say they’ve experienced in-person bullying and around one in five (19%) say they’ve experienced online bullying in the past year.
So how does a parent guide their child on how to deal with bullies and how to defend themselves?
Well, according to a study conducted by Macquarie University, martial arts could be an antidote to bullying in schools.
The research, which has been previously published by the Sydney Morning Herald, suggests that the way that martial arts can improve resilience and self-confidence helps children and young adults who are being bullied be better equipped to deal with aggressive behaviour.
Without actually resorting to violence.
Dr Brian Moore, lead researcher in the study on 283 students across five schools in the Blue Mountains, told the Sydney Morning Herald the results were “overwhelmingly positive” and all about weaponising peace through personal growth.
“From my perspective, martial arts training is not about fighting, it’s about self-development,” he said.
“While fighting is arguably part of martial arts training, the emphasis here is on self-defence and avoiding aggressive conflict.”
The keywords here? Conflict avoidance.
Some martial arts academies provide specific courses for children and teenagers who are being bullied physically or emotionally to help rebuild confidence, like the Academy of Self Defence and Martial Arts (ASDMA) in South Australia.
ASDMA says its ‘Stop Bullies and Kids Safe Self Defence’ course helps to develop skills and strategies to deal with verbal bullying, exclusion, cyberbullying, being ganged up on and being physically assaulted to help your child or teenager “embrace their new ability to turn bullying around to their advantage.”
The class content contains topics such as:
- Empowering successful and sometimes funny stories from victims of bullying.
- Discovering how you can become emotionally stronger with name calling, taunts and exclusion.
- How to carry your backpack safely.
- How to protect yourself if physically attacked.
- Unleashing real striking power (that is not assault).
- ‘Ninja Reflex Drills’ and skills defending from: being held by the wrist, being dragged, being hit to the head, being held against a wall, being kicked on the ground, and more.
These sorts of self defence classes are available from different organisations across Australia and their lessons can be invaluable in helping to defend your child against bullies.