Standing Up to Bullying – Being an Upstander not a Bystander
Bullying has become an epidemic in recent years. Yes, there have always been bullies, and yes, those bullies have always caused serious and lasting damage to their victims; however, bullying in the 21st century has changed – and not for the better.
According to Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, one in four students has reported that they were bullied during the school year and 14.8% of high school students in the United States have reported that they were bullied online.
The consequences of bullying can be devastating. Victims are more likely to experience a decrease in their academic performance, anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems.
Being that bullying is such a rampant problem in the United States, children need to be presented with methods that will teach them how to combat being the victim of the name calling, teasing, and harassment that are associated with bullying behavior.
We Like to share the Upstander Mindset opposed to being a Bystander. Here are Four tips to help your child be a Upstander this School year.
- Get There First Let’s pretend that Barry is approaching Johnny with the intention of bullying him, but he is still a long way off. You could walk over to Johnny and say, “Hey Johnny, why don’t you come back to the class with me early. I could really use your help with a math problem.”
Or, “Hi Johnny, How are you doing? Why don’t you join us? We are playing Four Square and could use another player
- The Step In and Take Charge” method. Imagine that you see Barry calling Johnny names in front of a crowd at lunch. You could walk right up to Barry and say, “Barry, you are bullying Johnny by calling him names. Please stop it right now. It’s not very nice and nobody here likes it.”
- Distract and Redirect. You could walk up to Barry, pretending like you don’t notice what is going on and say, “Hi Barry, that is a cool shirt.” Then grab Johnny by the arm and walk off saying hey johnny I want to show you something
- Leave and Report If you see someone being bullied and you are not comfortable confronting OR interrupting the bully, you can use the “Leave and Report” method. Once again, imagine that you see Barry calling Johnny names in front of a crowd at lunch. You can leave the scene immediately and report it to someone who has the authority to do something about it. “Mrs. Jones, Barry is bullying Johnny in the hall way and it makes be very uncomfortable – Would you please stop him?”
Stand Up for Yourself. If a bully does start to attack, a child should not only know that it is OK to stand up for him- or herself, but that standing up must be done. If a child encounters someone who is saying or doing hurtful things, that child should exert his or her inner confidence, stand tall, look the bully in the eye and tell him or her to stop it. Once the child tells the bully to stop, he or she should walk away and move on. Letting the bully see that he or she has impacted the victim will only make him or her feel successful, which will make him or her want to try again.
Kids have the power to stop bullies, and martial arts help them find that power. By following these tips, children can avoid being the victim of such cruel behavior and avoid the lasting consequences bullying.