Bullying is an unfortunate reality for many American children and teens. While statistics show that verbal bullying is the most common type, physical bullying is not far behind.

Most bullying takes place in school, on school grounds or on the school bus but it can occur anywhere kids gather. It also can occur online. While many studies suggest that rates of bullying are declining, it still remains a prevalent problem in the U.S., especially in schools.

Unfortunately, many parents do not realize their son or daughter is being bullied since only approximately 25 percent of children and teens confide in their parents that they are being bullied. If you are wondering if your child is a victim of bullying it might help to know that many teens and children who are bullied seem to have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Perceived as different from their peers. Examples would include being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses, or being considered uncool by classmates.
  • Viewed as weak or unable to defend themselves.
  • Depressed, anxious or suffering from low self-esteem.

Many parents suspect that their child may be a victim of bullying but don’t know for sure. In such cases, it pays to be proactive. One way to do this is to make sure that a child is able to defend himself or herself by enrolling that child in a self-defense class.

Self-defense training is a great way to ensure that kids are able to protect themselves from bullies. What’s best, such classes do much more allow children and teens to defend themselves against bullies. These type of classes teach students how to respond to bullies in a calm and confident way. By doing so, an attack can be prevented before it begins.

Unfortunately, many bullies are intent on physically attacking their victim no matter what. In such cases, it is important that victims know how to protect themselves. Some effective techniques include blocking a thrown punch or learning how to free themselves when restrained. Other techniques allow victims to ward off group attacks.

Of course, the benefits of self-defense training goes far beyond just learning self-defense techniques. Students gain mental and physical strength, confidence and self-discipline. They also learn the importance of setting goals and working to achieve those goals. Finally, self-defense training allows students to participate in regular exercise and learn healthy habits that will last a lifetime.