Teaching kids to fight back against bullies

There's been a recent anti-bullying trend in an effort to help kids to fight back. Bully-proofing classes are becoming more popular and are encouraging children to take a more aggressive approach to avoid becoming a victim. Instructor Korbett Miller at Miller’s Martial Arts Academy in Kirkland, WA stands behind the belief of helping students strengthen themselves, both mentally and physically.

Miller likes to ask the question, “'what do you think the most important part of your body to protect yourself is?” He then replies with perhaps the most powerful response, “it’s your voice.”

Educational psychologist and nationally recognized parenting expert Michele Borba couldn't agree more. She's developed these six non-violent strategies to bully-proof your child, that you can practice at home.

  1. Use strong body posture. Teach your child to stand tall and hold his or her head up to appear more confident and look less vulnerable.
  2. Stay calm. Bullies love power and knowing they can push other kids' buttons, so tell your child "Try to not let a bully know he upset you."
  3. Say “no” with a firm voice. Teach your child that if he or she needs to respond, simple direct commands work best. The trick is not to look or sound like a victim.
  4. Teach comebacks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that most bullying begins with verbal harassment. Give your kids some one-liners to defuse the verbal torment
  5. Don't say please, as in please stop picking on me. If you beg or plead, the response gives the bully the power he craves.
  6. Leave the scene. Ideally the child should walk towards other kids or an adult. Tell your child not to look back and to get help if they need. 

Borba says, "fight only as a very last resort if you must defend yourself." It is important to emphasize that you will support them no matter what.

There are no winners when it comes to bullying and local Clinical Manager at Lutheran Community Services Dan Fox wishes that it wasn’t a growing problem.

Fox says “many of the bullies that we treat here have similar problems to the people who were bullied...we find both sides...the bully needs help and the victim needs help.” 

Fox is willing to get to the bottom of the issues our children face because bullies often “have a lot of symptoms similar feelings of isolation or anger.” Lutheran Community Services provides resources in order to “try to do is understand the origin...sometimes it’s something from childhood...maybe sometimes they were bullied themselves in school” and provide help accordingly.

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