Dealing with bullies



What parents should know


My son is only a year old, but I cringe at the thought of him being bullied when he reaches his school years. But can bullying even be prevented?

What is bullying?
StopBullying.com defines bullying as repetitive, unwanted and aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. They suggest that both those who are bullied as well as those who bully may suffer lasting effects as a result of the torment. 

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Watch for signs
If your normally happy-go-lucky kid starts displaying anti-social or depressive behaviors – even if it’s just barely noticeable – you may need to step in and find out what is going on. Bullying isn’t always physical, there is often an emotional toll.

If the behavior continues, take the information to the school and make a formal report, which will give the school more to go on than just the words of a concerned – but emotional – parent.

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Find balance
As martial arts instructor for over 20 years, Mark Nesbitt, who owns Nesbitt Tae Kwon Do in Wawarsing, says bullying is far from new as it has always been a problem for children.

“In [martial arts], we stress the importance of being able to defend yourself as well as how not to put yourself in a situation where it would be necessary to do so,” he says, adding that awareness of surroundings as well as potential problem areas that should be avoided are parts of training that are stressed – in addition the traditional escapes from holds and self-defense moves.

As confidence can go a long way in helping to shift the perception of bullying power imbalances, Nesbitt incorporates skills into his school’s curriculum to help build self-esteem, like board-breaking and other activities designed that boost confidence. Emphasis on academics and doing well in the classroom are also encouraged in his school.

 

Stacey Lutz is a new mom, freelance writer, and HUGE animal lover in Wurtsboro who enjoys taking her son on hikes and geocache adventures around the Hudson Valley.