Bullying Is Real

On March 7th, 2012 Eden Wormer, a 14 year old schoolgirl, gave her father a kiss and hug, said “I love you daddy, goodnight”, and then went to her room and hung herself. This is a story that no one wants to hear, but it is one that needs to be told. This will not make you feel good, and it will not brighten up your day. The hope is that it will bring about awareness and action to prevent the future suffering of children like Eden.

So what could have ever gone so bad in the life of a 14-year old child that makes suicide seem like the only option? The answer is BULLYING, and it is much more common and serious than anyone realizes. For nearly two years Eden Wormer was the subject of relentless and cruel bullying at the hands of her female classmates. Desperate to fit in, she had tried everything from dying her hair to tanning to replacing her eyeglasses with contact lenses in hopes that she would gain their acceptance. She made cries for help through social networking sites such as Facebook, once writing “im super funny and out going i love all my friends n family n that includes all my haterz.! :) n im fun to hang around too. :)”. Yet, no relief ever came for Eden. Eventually she gave up, and took the only way out of her daily hell she knew. This should never have happened, and it could have been prevented.

So how can we protect our children from the threat of bullying? Unfortunately, as is so often the case in bullying, victims will not report the abuse to their parents or teachers for fear that it will only make matters worse as the bullies seek retribution. Instead, children try desperately to solve the problem on their own, but are rarely equipped with the necessary tools to do so. No matter how vigilant a parent or teacher you are it is possible that the signs of bullying may go unnoticed until it is too late and the damage has been done. The only way to effectively prevent bullying is to act preemptively by providing children with specific anti-bullying training. Bullies will always be present, and so we solve the problem by preparing our children to deal with them. Some children are naturally confident and physically gifted, and so rarely the target of bullying. The children who are targeted by bullies are those who may be lacking in confidence, physically unimposing, and often in a fragile state of personal development.

A proven and effective way to prepare a child to confront bullying is through training in martial arts. The unfortunate truth is that a pacifist approach to bullying does not work, and in fact will often makes things even worse. You cannot ignore bullies, walk away, or try to turn a cold shoulder to their actions. They must be confronted and pushed back. Through martial arts training children are able to develop the self confidence and awareness to push back when confronted by bullies. This does not mean physical violence. Many martial arts academies now offer special bully proof programs that teach children very simple, non-violent techniques of self defense that can be used to ward off bullies. These programs teach children to neutralize threats and gain control of situations without ever risking their safety. The single most important factor is that a child learns to show no fear, and exude confidence and awareness the very first time a bully confronts them. All it takes is for a child to stand up to a bully one time the first time and they will go in search of another easier victim.

Please let this story be a call to action, and get your children involved in some kind of martial arts or bully self-defense program. If this is out of the question, at the very least take the time to sit down with your children and discuss the subject of bullies. Make sure they understand that bullies are no stronger than them, and can be dealt with through self-confidence. It is often hard to believe that children can be so cruel to each other, but Eden Wormer is a harsh and tragic reminder of the reality of bullying. You may not see them, but make no mistake there are bullies everywhere, and they are always looking for their next victim.

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts® is Asia's premier brand of MMA academies. With World Champions in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, and No Gi Grappling, Evolve MMA is the top martial arts training organization in Asia. It ranks among the best martial arts academies in the world.