Bullying Prevention & Sports
The website www.StopBullying.gov defines bullying as “Unwanted aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated over time and includes: making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically OR verbally, excluding someone from a group on purpose…” Kids are reluctant to admit they are being bullied or seek help, so parents should be on the lookout for these warning signs: lost or damaged clothing or electronics, stomach aches, headaches, sleeplessness, avoidance of school or social situations, declining grades, depression, negative self-talk (I’m stupid, fat, etc.), and self-harm.
There are steps you can take if you believe your child is being bullied, but is there a way to prevent it? Bullies pick victims who seem nervous, anxious, fearful, and are unlikely to report the abuse. The bully may attack a real or perceived aspect of their victim’s appearance or personality, but that is not what provokes the abuse. Telling a kid to just ‘stand up for yourself’ doesn’t work. Victims are chosen because the bully knows they are incapable of that. Beginning at an early age, we need to arm our children with self-confidence so they are not targeted in the first place. Sports provide an excellent opportunity to grow a child’s self-esteem. Setting goals and achieving them through hard work improves confidence, making your child less likely to be bullied.
Swimming is a great way to encourage children in sports. Most kids love being in the pool. The water is also a great equalizer. Children that may be at a disadvantage in other sports can excel at swimming, despite size or disability – or a strong desire to avoid anything that involves competition or possible physical contact. Whether they choose to swim on a team or not, the act of learning a stroke or improving an individual best time is an ego boost. There is no magic pill; self-confidence takes time to develop, but once it does our kids become stronger than they ever imagined.
For more information on swimming lessons and water safety, contact Academy Swim Club at 661-702-8585, or visit www.swim4life.com.
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