This is not about a fantastic rock song Pat Benatar recorded, because if it was we could all sit back and enjoy the music. But there is nothing to enjoy about sitting back and watching the children you love or someone else’s child getting bullied. As a parent, is there something you can do about it? Absolutely there is.
First, always do like my father did with me and that was he always had my back growing up. As a child, that was the most comforting thing he could have done. If you’re a single mother then just follow these guidelines I’m laying out here. Remember, as long as you don’t become willful and abusive in any way towards your child, you should never have a problem with them becoming a bully or acting aggressively.
Now in my case, the bullies in school and neighborhood found out real fast I was a force to be reckoned with, because my father started to teach me self-defense and martial arts at the age of 4, which proved to be invaluable down the road. The problem I had, believe it or not, was being bullied verbally, mentally and physically by adults, teachers, principals and coaches — not all, but some. Those are the ones my father was proactive towards and consequently he had my back.
If it was a male teacher or any adult male he would literally put a hurting on them in front of me, so I would learn how to handle abusive situations. My father was an eighth-degree black belt in jujitsu, jukido and judo, which he taught in the military. I was told by the men who knew him in the military that nobody could hold a candle to him. That’s why the military chose him to teach martial arts and self-defense. I respected my father immensely out of love, never fear.
Now, if it was a woman or woman teacher who abused me, he knew just what words to use on her in no uncertain terms. He was tough in a good way, which I admired.
One of the most important things you need to teach your children is never allow anyone to lay a hand on your child. That includes adults, strangers, teachers, principals, coaches, kids, family members, etc. Your child’s body was not put on this earth for the purpose of being a punching bag for anyone to abuse and in law enforcement that’s called assault and battery. My father told me if any male young or old wished to abuse me in any manner to go right ahead and hurt him, which I did. Just another confidence builder. If it’s a woman, use appropriate discretion.
I got suspended a few times, but I was always able to hold my head up high, which gave me more time to practice martial arts with Master Chen Wu or my father, along with cranking out some plastic model airplanes, which I loved to build and still do.
Teaching your child never to allow anyone to lay their hands on them prevents them from being abducted, molested, assaulted, abused, raped, murdered, bullied or psychologically destroyed for life by twisted, sordid lowlifes. It also builds inner strength, which your children need.
Always be there for them, don’t just give them lip service because children are smart and will see right through it. Remember, the only people your children have to lean on in life is you, the parent, and if they lose that they will feel forsaken and all confidence they had will be wiped away. Then they will really feel betrayed. Then you take the risk of them turning to other people like gangs and other bad influences life has to offer and I’m sure that’s the last thing you want to see happen.
Children learn from example and that’s why you as a parent have to be strong and emotionless like a tiger that’s getting ready to pounce, meaning, stand up for your children. They will honor you for that. This is how children learn respect, love and discipline. No child wants a coward for a father or weak parents that turn their backs on them out of fear for their own self-interest. That would be shameful.
Also, teach your children to come to the defense of others who are being picked on by bullies and trouble makers. This teaches them strength, character building and thoughtfulness. Then they will learn what it’s like to have someone else’s back.
You might be saying to yourself that my child doesn’t know how to do martial arts? What will they need to do? Should they enroll in class? No. It’s not necessary and this is coming from a guy who teaches martial arts and self-defense. Remember, a bully is a coward who only preys on what they perceive as weak. They can’t stand pain nor do they like to get hurt. You never want your child to become a victim under any circumstances and taking a stand against bullies and assailants will stop that from happening. As a parent I want you to remember, never abuse your children in any way, that includes verbally, or ever lay a hand on them, because it will only do more harm than good by making them mean, lose trust and respect for you and then they will turn into the bully they’re trying to fight. You would never hit any of your pets or at least I hope you wouldn’t, so why would you hit your child? Plus I’m sure you would not want someone hitting you.
A bully is usually a product of their environment and only acting out what they learn at home. So enter the dragon and start spending more time with your children, listening to them and most importantly, always have their back. Then hopefully you will never have to tell your child that hell is for children.
Craig Bolton is a Brooksville resident who runs Institute of Combat Arts, a martial arts and self-defense school.