The first year at school was terrible for us. For our son on a daily basis, because he was bullied by his classmate. For us because of the anxiety it brought. We had just moved him to a new school. Looking back I think, it was best that he had to face it early on. When he was small enough for us to act on it.
We followed all the usual tactics. Talking to teacher, talking to parents, more importantly talking to our son. We asked him to ignore, keep away. He was annoyed because the other kid made fun of his name. We asked him not to react or to tease him similarly. Nothing worked.
We started sending him to Karate classes as my husband felt that it is very important to build his strength. First one year, he would be tired after the class and invented all kind of excuses. Some times we gave in but he mostly went. Moving to the next level increased his morale and he kept at it.
The real benefit came after 2 years. He came to 4th grade and this time when he was bullied, he gave it right back to the kid. This happened couple of times and now he built a reputation. Of course, we have told him to use restraint. He was taught the 3 rule option.
1st Time : Talk to the kid who is bullying
2nd Time: Warn the kid who is bullying
3rd Time: Let the teacher know about it and let the kid also know that it has been to teacher’s attention.
Next take action – not harming the kid, but enough to threaten.
By the time he came to fifth grade, the message to the other kids was clear. Do not mess with him, or else.
He still gets bullied, but he does not take it lying down. He knows how to give it back. This has increased his confidence to such an extent, that he is able to take bullying or irritation without having to resort to physical action. And I was glad that my husband took the decision of starting him on Karate.
Bullying in this day and age is very common and starts very early. It starts innocently and most of the time harmless. But then the impact it has on the receiving kid is tremendous. The kids self confidence diminishes and that manifests in different forms. They start becoming clingy and whiny at home. They start to seek approval from others. They want to ape other kids who are popular at school.
After seeing all these behavior patterns with another kid of my son’s age, I am thankful to my husband for insisting that our son attends his Karate classes regularly. Now he does appreciate the benefits of the rigor, but being a kid he still needs constant affirmation of the benefits. It is difficult to see the benefits especially when he needs to getup early even on weekends for his karate classes. He will realize the benefits of it later on, when he grows up.It worked for us. We now have a brown belt at home who packs a punch!