Prepare Your Kids to Handle Bullies

Prepare Your Kids to Handle Bullies

Prepare Your Kids to Handle Bullies

As the dad of two young boys, I’m definitely worried about bullying.

Bullying is a serious problem in our schools today. Three million kids miss school every month because they’re afraid of being bullied. And don’t think Catholic schools are immune.

So, how should I prepare my kids to handle bullies? It’s not a simple issue. If I tell them to fight, they might be seen as the aggressor. Many schools have zero-tolerance fighting policies. Everyone get expelled, even the victim. Also, I don’t want my kids to think violence is the answer to problems, or to become violent themselves. But, I don’t want them to be victimized and afraid either.

I’ve found the perfect solution. The Gracie Bullyproof program. Gracie Bullyproof is based off of Gracie Jiu-jitsu. You may know about this Brazilian martial art from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Gracie Jiu-jitsu is an extremely effective grappling martial art that uses joint locks, takedowns, and chokeholds to neutralize an attack and finish it without punches or kicks. It’s designed to help smaller people defeat larger, stronger, more athletic opponents with less effort.

The heart of the program is the Rules of Engagement and the “Three T-steps.” These teach kids when and when not to use the techniques they’ve learned.

The Rules of Engagement are:

1. Avoid the fight at all costs.
2. If physically attacked, defend yourself.
3. If verbally attacked, follow the Three T-steps (talk, tell, tackle).
4. Never punch or kick the bully, establish control and negotiate.
5. When applying submissions use minimal force and negotiate.

Notice, from the beginning your child is taught to avoid fights but always to defend himself. If your child has to mix it up, he’s never to punch or kick, but establish control and negotiate.

The Three T-steps (talk, tell, and tackle) are a graduated response to handle verbal bullying:

1. Talk to the bully. Tell them with confidence that you don’t like what they’re doing and will tell someone if it doesn’t stop. That might stop the bullying right right there. Bullies look for victims without any confidence…easy prey. If your child stands up for himself, it might just deter the bully from further action.

2. If that doesn’t work, tell someone in authority about the bully’s behavior. It could be a teacher or lunch room monitor–someone that can do something about it. Will that stop the bullying? It might. Again, bullies are looking for an easy mark. If your child becomes an irritation, the bully might leave them alone.

3. The last step is tackle, but not physical tackling. You first tackle with with “verbal jiu-jitsu.” If verbal threats continue, your child says something like, “Hey, do you want to fight? Because if you do, I’m not afraid of you. If you don’t, then stay away from me and quit wasting my time.” The ball is now in the bully’s court. If he attacks, your child uses the physical techniques he learned. If the bully doesn’t attack, he loses face and will probably quit the harassment. Of course, before you can issue a challenge like that, you have to know what to do.

But you don’t just start off learning techniques, first you play games…Gracie Games. These are really fun games that are actually teaching kids the major control positions. Spider Kid teaches you how to stay on top of an opponent. The Guard Monster teaches what to do if you find yourself on your back with your opponent on top of you. There are 10 Gracie Games in all, and the kids love them. They are the perfect way to introduce the techniques. When all the games are mastered, then you begin learning techniques in a systematic cycle that builds one technique on top of the other. It’s nothing short of brilliant teaching.

Gracie Bullyproof was designed as an at home DVD study course that you can do with your children. The DVD’s do all the instruction. Just watch them and you’ll know exactly what to do with your kids. You can find the program at some martial arts schools as well, but there aren’t many. If you live in a big city, you could probably find a Bullyproof school near you.

[youtube_sc url= ]

I think this is the perfect bullyproofing for Catholic families. It’s non-violent, defensive in nature, and addresses all ranges of bullying behavior. I believe if every child in America could by Bullyproofed like this, bullies would lose their platform and bullying would come to an end.

Copyright 2013 Marc Cardaronella


About Author

Marc Cardaronella is the author of Keep Your Kids Catholic: Sharing Your Faith and Making It Stick from Ave Maria Press. Marc directs catechist and discipleship leader formation for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO. He is married, has two teen boys, and writes about Catholic spirituality and how to share the Faith on his personal blog.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.