Bullying is a hot topic these days. Now you can even be bullied 24/7 with social media. Whether it is because of the media, school shootings, or overzealous parents. I hear people saying they want to end bullying, I think it is admirable but misleading and missing the point.

I did my graduate paper on bullying and programs that reduced it. There was a lot of good programs out there that helped. Creating a community that cares about all it’s members. Promoting activities that keep kids involved like after school programs. These all helped cut down on bullying, but there was no program that came close to eliminating it.

That’s because you can’t remove the causes of bullying. Some kids bully to get negative emotions out, some do it for the control over another person, some do it because they are abused. The point is there is nothing you can do about the way it is out there, with the kids trying to bully. What you can do is teach your kids in a manner that prevents them from being bullied. Being involved in your child’s life is the only way that is going to happen.

I’m very lucky that my martial arts school was well established before my kids were born. My two daughters are surrounded by kids with strong moral values and a sense of integrity. Sure my daughter’s are going to learn how to defend themselves but they are also already a part of a group. When I joined my first martial arts school, that sense of community the class offered was great. It was the first time if I just worked hard enough I was praised and rewarded, it promoted me doing my best so that I can be a part of the group.

What programs give your kids a sense of connection and belonging? Do you know who their friends are? Where do they feel welcome and where do they not feel welcome. These are more important questions than how can I stop X from bullying my daughter. There is always going to be another bully, but your kids can learn self-reliance and that one person’s opinion doesn’t matter if they are a part of something bigger.

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