Bullyproof: A Program To Tackle The Problem

Image via Flickr user trix0r

My daughter was born with a gentle soul. She is very kind and empathetic with others. Her feelings are easily hurt and they are worn on her sleeve for all to see. When she started daycare at age 2, her teachers commented that she didn’t stick up for herself. She let other kids take toys away from her and never retaliated. She would just move on to something else. Now that she just started 2nd grade, I worry more about her standing up for herself. We have talked about bullying and gone through different scenarios and what she should do. We have bought books and read them together. I have emphasized that her daddy and I are here to help her through anything, but I still worry. I know how mean kids can be and I know how much it hurts her.

One family I have recently read about has a child with much the same personality. The only difference here is that he is older and has been bullied for several years. His mother had heard of the Gracie Academy, a program in Torrance, California where students were taught defense aspects of Jujitsu as well as how to handle a bully mentally. Once he returned to school, the young man put what he learned to work. Shortly after the beginning of school, a bigger boy started picking on him. He followed the three steps he was taught: ask the bully to leave you alone, tell your teacher and your parents, and tackle the bully to gain control over him. The school had a zero tolerance policy for bullying and for fighting, but thankfully the principal used common sense and the boy was not punished. That is a problem I have with the zero tolerance policies, no room for common sense most of the time. Why punish a child for standing up for himself? That just leads to more problems but that is another discussion for another time.

I think this sort of program is a great idea. It gives the child a guide in how to escalate the problem to get it solved. It helps to bolster the confidence of the children that tend to the meek side. It helps them take control of a situation that is very out of control. It helps them stand up for themselves and they need to know that is ok.

My daughter is very passive and we have tried to teach her that sometimes there are situations when you need to stand up for yourself. I sincerely hope she is listening and that bullying does not become a problem for her at some point in the future. If it does, I will be looking for a program similar to the Gracie Academy’s so that she can have the tools to defend herself because sometimes the only thing bullies understand is someone tackling them.

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2 thoughts on “Bullyproof: A Program To Tackle The Problem

  1. Good luck with your pursuit of a program for your daughter. You might have luck seeking a Aikido school in your area. It has similar martial arts origins to Brazilian Jujitsu and I think has a good overall philosophy.

    Both styles emphasize grapples/leverage and the use of an attackers momentum against themselves, which well suits a smaller person defending themselves against a larger more aggressive individual.

  2. I wanted to add my thoughts on another program for bullying. I was introduced to this program in a professional development seminar for teachers. It is called “Owning Up”. It is a curriculum developed by Rosalind Wiseman. The program teaches students, teachers, and parents how to deal with bullying. I personally found the best thing about it was how it focuses on each student standing up for themselves and others. It is a program designed to teach children to “build communities of dignity and ethical leadership”, to stand up for what’s right and not be a spectator. I think this program and any of Wiseman’s books would be great for parents who are concerned with bullying.

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