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How to Talk to "Your Teen" about Bullying

Posted Oct 29 2010 11:03am
How to Talk to “Your Teen” about BullyingChanging Lives Martial Arts and Krav Maga

Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Virginia

Sr. Master Instructor, Tracy Lee Thomas

7 th Degree Black Belt

Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, VA is concerned for the teens in our community.Suicides by teens who have been harassed by bullying and cyber-bullying (bullying by electronic means such as email, Facebook, MySpace, on websites or via text message) are in the news and on the minds of parents throughout Hampton Roads. But rather than simply worrying and hovering over your teen, it's important to address the topic NOW, before any situation in your teen's life escalates.

Here are some tips and tools for parents to use when talking to their teen about bullying, anti-bullying and being bullied. These bullying tips and tools are from Changing Lives ATA
Martial ArtsMaster Instructor, Senior Master T. L. Thomas, 7 th Degree Black Belt owner of multiple martial arts and Krav Maga Academies in South Eastern Virginia area.Open the Conversation Now—Don't Wait for Your TeenBeginning a conversation with your teenager can be difficult, but the topic of bullying is crucial. Use the recent news stories as a conversation opener with your teen. Open the communication flow and listen to what your teen has to say. Senior MasterTracy Lee Thomas,suggests, "It is best to feel your child out and let him/her talk in a manner that is comfortable for them. Listen more and speak less. Try to remain calm and neutral to see where your teen takes the topic. As a parent, I understand it takes courage to speak openly with your teen. A quote I often think about from Winston Churchill,Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.It is time as parents and mentors of teens that we take the time to listen.”   Changing Lives Martial Arts and Krav Maga training systems is very unique as it has a structured system and class planners in how they teach various martial arts “LIFE SKILLS” such as enhanced self- confidence, improved self-esteem, and self-respect that will change a teenagers life forever.

When Your Teen Opens Up, DO NOT Shut Him/Her Down.When your teens feels comfortable enough to bring a bullying situation to your attention, sit down and listen. Try not to overreact by getting emotional and angry. Most importantly, don’t judge and resist the urge to place blame or cross-examine your teenager. Keep calm and use your self-control life skills to keep the line of communication open. Your teen needs to know you care and that you are going to help the situation by responding to their concern in a positive, effective manner. Use this time to listen by giving gentle prompts about how your teen felt during the bullying. This will encourage your teen to continue sharing and opening up to you. Sometimes our teens just need to know that they have your love and support. Keep in mind, no one wants to be embarrassed, but they may want positive help but don’t know who to turn to on possible life threatening occasions.Prepare Your Teen to Stand Up to Bullying, try a Martial Arts Class or a Krav Maga Class.As parents, we may worry that we sometimes sound like a broken record, but here are some life skill areas you can NEVER talk about too often with your teens:
  • Making good decisions in their treatment of peers, setting the example by not excluding others can often create an anti-bullying atmosphere.
  • Standing up for what they believe in when they are around peers who treat others poorly. Self-control, self-esteem, and self-confidence are just a few of the many life skills taught atChanging Lives ATA Martial Artsand these skills give teens the necessary tools to stand up for themselves and their peers.
  • Emphasizing that they NEVER have to "just take it" if they are being harassed in any way, encourage your teen to share what is happening to them with a trusted adult.
  • Feeling good about who they are and loving themselves. Self-esteem is a key componentto stop bullying. Martial arts is proven to build self-esteem. Changing Lives ATA Martial Arts and Krav Maga in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake offers a 3 day Confidence Course for teens. For a location near you, visitwww.atakick.com.
  • Letting your teen know that you ALWAYS "have their back", value and love EVERYTHING about them. Teens need to understand that even if you don’t believe in some of their choices or decisions, they will always have your love, understanding, and support.
  • Help teens understand that there is a solution to every problem with bullying. By using life skills in their everyday lives, they can create actions used to solve situations and achieve desired results.
  • “Don’t Be A Target”, states; Tracy Lee Thomas. “we must guide our children with positive life skills to create a pattern in dealing with the right choice in life.  Martial Arts and Krav Maga builds confidence and creates a well-rounded youth who can and will make the right choices based on training, role playing and positive mentorship”.   At CLMA students learn to hold their head high, look others in the eye, and display strong self confidence that wards possible harm away and choosing to NOT Be a Target of bullying.   
Let’s teach the youth in our community… Don’t Be A Victim and Don’t Be A Target !Both the students and Instructors at Changing Lives are passionate about creating a community atmosphere that will put an end to bullying as it is an unacceptable in our community.

For more information ofChanging Lives ATA Martial ArtsLife Skill and Anti-Bullying Programs visitwww.atakick.com.   Serving the community with five locations. 757-471-9002

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