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Monday, February 14, 2011

Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Anti-Bullying

Many parents believe their children are not victims of bullying and thus are caught unprepared when the problem hits home. Of course, "bully-proofing" children is a large part of what we do at California Academy of Martial Arts. However, while the conversation on bullying tends to focus on victims and vilify the bullies themselves ("they're horrible kids!"), the reality is that the majority of them are good kids that just need some extra TLC. In fact, many are victims of bullying (or worse) themselves.

Once upon a time, according to Disney's upcoming show "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," there was a lonely little boy who wanted to be invited to play with the other children. But he never was. And years later, when the boy became a man, he was better known as Captain Hook*Isn't that message just as important as any other about anti-bullying?

Jake and Captain Hook.

Empathy - understanding how someone else is feeling, or being able to put yourself in their shoes - is a learned skill with immeasurable value. Empathic kids are shown to have better social skills, which helps them to do better in school and other social situations. Also, empathic children are perceived as better leaders, probably because they are better communicators and more likely to intervene in conflicts on others' behalf.**

Successful anti-bullying programs (like ours) should incorporate the social lessons promised in 'Jake and the Never Land Pirates' so that our children learn that for bullying to cease in their communities they must not only cease to be victims but also cease to be bullies themselves.

(*Excerpt from LA Times article published February 13, 2011.
 **Consulted http://www.drkutner.com/parenting/articles/develop_empathy.html)

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff