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Self-Defence Strategies Kids Can Use To Ward Off Bullies

Posted: June 08, 2022

Is your child prepared or equipped to deal with bullies? This blog explores some of the best self-defence strategies for kids when it comes to playground bullying.

Sadly, bullying is all too common in the UK. Ditch the Label – a charity centred around bullying, found in their annual survey a fifth of young people reporting they had been bullied in the previous year. They also found that three out of four bullied kids said it affected their mental health and nearly half became depressed as a result.

Statistics like that are frightening to parents and guardians – nobody wants their child to be bullied. What is the solution and what can you do to prepare your child to deal with the playground nasties?

Solutions to bullying differ across the country but most schools and experts can agree that reducing the occurrence of bullying in the first place is key to protecting more vulnerable children. Most schools will have some sort of policy on bullying and/or techniques they use to reduce bullying. Identifying ‘gateway behaviours’ in children who are likely to bully, for example, or by teaching empathy and kindness to children.


How Exercise Can Help Boost Confidence & Resilience 

Having hobbies outside of the school environment is a great way for kids to destress, find a passion they love, and make new friends. Can it help kids deal with bullying better though? 

We think so! Hobbies that involve team sports or any type of group physical activity build confidence and resilience in children, in addition to being good for their overall health. 

Self-defence classes are great for building your child's confidence because they may be able to physically defend themselves but here are some other great options for building confidence: 

Dance - there are many styles of dance available to learn these days. Hip-hop or urban dance seems to be particularly popular with kids. It's often done in groups, many of which enter competitions which can further boost confidence. 

Football - football academies for kids have been growing in popularity for years. No longer just for the boys either, girls are participating in football just as much now. Children's football is brilliant for increasing confidence, resilience and the ability to work as a team. 

Swimming - learning to swim is an essential life-saving skill that most parents already encourage their children to learn, but competitive team swimming can be a brilliant outlet for kids that aren't very confident.


Self Defence For Kids

To come at the issue of bullying from another angle - it makes sense that children be taught how to deal with bullying and what self-defence strategies they can use to keep themselves safe.

Self-defence encompasses a wide range of skills to help kids deal with and avoid bullying, but ‘hitting back’ is quite low down the list. Most tactics kids can use as self-defence involve developing confidence and learning to listen to their instincts.

Here are some ways you can teach your child to defend themselves:

Stand confidently - kids that look confident are less likely to be bullied than the kids stood slouched in a corner, avoiding eye contact. Teach your child good posture, walking with a sense of purpose and to make eye contact with those around them.

Speak assertively - bullies often target quieter children they know are unlikely to defend themselves. Often, if a target speaks back with confidence the bully will back down. Teaching assertive language skills is a great way to equip your child with a strong voice.

Listen to instincts - ‘gut instinct’ is something that we all have. You know when a situation feels unsafe or ‘something is about to happen’. Teach your children to listen to these instincts – if something feels off or trouble is brewing, they can walk away.

Learn to walk away - this one sounds easy…teach your kid to simply walk away from bullying situations. However, walking away is often seen as weak behaviour instead of an easy way to end a hostile situation. Teach your child that walking away is the braver option.

Make some noise - reassure your child that it is correct to make a lot of noise if someone is threatening them or hurting them. Most bullies will stop what they’re doing if attention is brought to the situation. The tactic also applies to dangerous situations with strangers – tell your child it is ok to make noise and scream to attract attention.

Stay in a group - bullies often look for opportunities where they can find a target alone. Encourage your child to always stick with their friends to reduce the chance of being targeted. Travelling to and from school is often a prime time for bullies to strike so it is better if children travel with their friend groups.


Kids Martial Arts

The above are all self-defence strategies you can teach at home but what can you do to help prepare your child to potentially ward of physical violence?

Although violence should always be avoided, there are some situations where a bully will just be intent on fighting. If your child has tried all the above techniques and a bully moves in to attack them anyway, then they need to be prepared to defend themselves.

Self-defence classes for kids are not a way to teach a child how to ‘fight’ as such – the focus is usually on protective techniques, such as blocking punches or removing hands from arms etc.

Jiu-Jitsu is a particularly effective form of self-defence and has become hugely popular especially with the explosion of UFC. The primary goal of Jiu-Jitsu is to control a resisting opponent in ways that force him into submission by grappling.

Much of the technique taught in our teen Gracie Jiu-Jitsu lessons centres around taking down an opponent to the ground and wrestling to control and render them harmless. With proper techniques like these, your child can be confident in their ability to overcome opponents of a much bigger size without ever even having to use a kick or punch.

Being involved in a sport such as Jiu-Jitsu is great for building self-confidence. As mentioned earlier in this article, self-confidence and how a child carries themselves can help them avoid becoming a target of bullying in the first instance.

To enrol your child today or to ask a question, please get in touch.

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