Understanding and Combating Bullying: A Guide for Parents and Educators

Understanding and Combating Bullying: A Guide for Parents and Educators

Bullying is a serious issue that affects countless children in schools across the world. As the owner and head instructor of Fort Lauderdale Jiu Jitsu, I’m Bruce Belfield, and I want to address this important topic. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what bullying is, how to differentiate it from conflict, and explore ways to “bully-proof” your child. This information is relevant for parents and educators who often receive limited training on dealing with bullying.  Watch the video below for a more detailed explanation.

Defining Bullying vs. Conflict

Understanding the distinction between bullying and conflict is crucial for effective intervention. Here are the key differences:

  1. Intent to Hurt: Bullying involves the deliberate intent to harm another person, either physically or verbally. Disagreements or arguments without this harmful intent are not considered bullying.
  2. Repetition: Bullying is typically a repeated behavior, occurring two to three times a month, or it can be a severe single instance.
  3. Imbalance of Power: The most critical aspect of bullying is the presence of an imbalance of power. This can manifest physically, through differences in size, or in terms of status or confidence levels. This is what sets bullying apart from mere conflict.

Forms of Bullying

Bullying can take various forms, including:

Direct Bullying:

  • Physical actions like hitting or spitting.
  • Verbal abuse, name-calling, or making threats.
  • Obscene gestures and disrespectful behavior.

Indirect Bullying:

  • Persuading one child to engage in bullying behaviors against another.
  • Spreading rumors to damage a child’s reputation.
  • Social isolation, such as excluding a child from social groups.
  • Cyberbullying through digital means, like social media and messaging.

The Impact of Bullying

Understanding the potential consequences of bullying is crucial for recognizing its presence. The results of bullying can include:

  1. Lowered Self-Esteem: Bullied children often experience a decline in self-esteem.
  2. Depression and Anxiety: Bullying can lead to emotional distress and mental health issues.
  3. Absenteeism: Affected children may start missing school.
  4. Lowered Academic Achievement: Grades may decline due to the stress of bullying.
  5. Sickness: The stress from bullying can weaken the immune system.
  6. Thoughts of Suicide: In severe cases, bullying can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Who Are the Bullies and the Bullied?

Busting common myths, the research shows that:


  • Typically possess above-average social skills.
  • Often, they are popular and confident.
  • Comfortably interact with adults.
  • Not necessarily insecure, as once believed.

Children Who Are Bullied:

  • Tend to be quieter and more sensitive.
  • Often have lower self-esteem.
  • May be physically weaker.
  • Fear getting hurt, attracting bullies.

Where Does Bullying Occur?

Bullying can happen in various locations within schools, including:

  • Classrooms: Often with teachers present, but teachers may not always recognize it.
  • Bus Stops and Buses: Vulnerable settings for bullying.
  • Gyms and Locker Rooms: Physical spaces where bullying can occur.
  • Cafeterias: Social environments where exclusion can happen.
  • Restrooms: Places where bullying is more likely to go unnoticed.
  • Hallways: Common areas for bullying.
  • Playgrounds and Athletic Fields: Outdoor spaces where bullying can happen.

Solutions and Prevention

Addressing bullying involves tackling the root causes. Here are some key steps:

1. Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem: Elevate your child’s self-esteem to reduce the imbalance of power.

2. Self-Defense Training: Enroll your child in self-defense classes. This helps build confidence and physical skills.

3. Early Prevention: Don’t wait until a problem arises. Self-defense and martial arts can benefit your child’s development, even if they’re not currently experiencing bullying.


Understanding and addressing bullying is a shared responsibility of parents, educators, and society as a whole. By promoting self-esteem, self-defense, and early prevention, we can empower our children to face the challenges of the school environment with confidence and resilience. If you’re in the Fort Lauderdale area, visit Fort Lauderdale Jiu Jitsu to explore these valuable resources and support systems. Let’s work together to create a safer and more nurturing environment for our children.

Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu, LLC was founded in 2007 by Bruce Belfield, a 5th Degree Black Belt and Chief Master Instructor.  Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu offers classes for pre-school children ages 4-6 and elementary age kids 7 and up designed to develop the critical skills children need – specialized for their age group – for success in school and in life as well as keeping them safe and free from being the target of bullies.

Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu’s Adult Jiu-Jitsu System is a complete adult fitness and self-defense program for adults who want to get (and stay) in shape while developing confidence, discipline, and focus through learning the most effective self-defense system on the planet.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 954-802-9831.  You can also visit our website at www.ftljj.com.

About Bruce Belfield.  Bruce Belfield is a 5th Degree Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu and Judo and Chief Master Instructor.  He also holds a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Karate.  He holds a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University and has been training martial arts since the age of 7.  

Prior to creating Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu, Bruce Belfield served as a Police Detective and SWAT Team Instructor in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.  Certified as a Police Defensive Tactics Instructor, Firearms Instructor, Chemical Weapons Instructor, and Field Training Officer, Bruce Belfield has taught numerous Police Officers, SWAT Personnel, Federal Law Enforcement, and Military Special Forces Personnel throughout the country.  

Chief Master Belfield teaches seminars in school safety and bullying, martial arts training, police defensive tactics, and business around the country.  

Fort Lauderdale Jiu-Jitsu is located at 701 East Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304.  You can contact us there at 954-802-9831.  We serve the communities of Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Lauderdale By The Sea, Dania, Plantation, Davie, and Lauderhill Florida.  

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