* Bullying Self-Defense Workshop for Parents and Kids - Sat., Oct. 20, 2012.
(Twin Cities) – When they send their children off to school, parents expect that their sons and daughters will be educated on all the skills they need to succeed in life. However, Tristan Chermack, author of the new book, “What the Bully Doesn’t Want You to Know: A Streetwise Guide to Your Bully Problem,” says today’s education system is lacking in a key area.
“Reading, writing and arithmetic aren’t all kids need to learn in school. I feel strongly that every child should also know how to handle bullying,” he said. “It happens more often than many people think.”
Too often in fact. According to the Minnesota Departments of Health and Education, 13 percent of Minnesota 6th, 9th and 12th graders, some 100,000 students, are bullied at least once a week. National statistics show that an estimated 160,000 U.S. students skip school every day because they are frightened of being the target of violence and nearly two out of three children under 17 have reported being the victim of assault.
Chermack is hoping to put an end to some of the needless suffering by helping kids figure out how not to be a victim “It is a very important point to note that kids will find a way to end the torment of their bully problems, but more often than not the solution isn't pretty. In the very worst of cases for example, kids take their own lives. More often, it means less activity in school, declining or poor grades, socially isolating themselves, drugs and alcohol, gang involvement, fighting, and the like. They will find way of putting an end to the pain,” said Chermack.
The Burnsville man says his key motivator for writing the book was his own experience. While attending middle school in Minnetonka, Minn., he was targeted by several bullies and threatened with violence. “No kid should have to fear going to school because they think they are going to be beat up or tormented. I’ve been there and want to show them how not to be a victim,” he said.
Chermack and co-author Matt Paulsen begin their book, which is written for both kids and their parents, with a powerful introduction that tells the stories of three young people who took their lives after being tormented by bullies. They then make the point that violence is not random, and offer strategies readers can use to avoid becoming a victim.
“What makes this book different than any other bullying book out there is the concepts and strategies written about came from people (kids and adults) who successfully solved their bully problems. They all come from real stories, not academic speculation,” said Chermack.
Throughout the book, the authors educate readers on the psyche of the bully. Chermack contends that kids whom bullies victimize, and women who are mugged in parking lots for that matter, are carefully studied and analyzed before becoming a victim.
“Before they attack the aggressor will have determined that their intended target is a low risk, that chances are they will get away with it and that they are going to get something out of it,” said Chermack. “I want to help kids have the confidence to stand up for themselves.”
If a letter Chermack recently received from the mother of three is any indication, the book is doing just that. All three of her kids have experienced bullying. In her own words “’What the Bully Doesn’t Want You to Know: A Streetwise Guide to Your Bully Problem,’ has truly made such a difference in our lives…. With the help of the book, we knew we were not alone, our son knew he had to stand up for himself. Our whole family learned how real this situation is.”
The boy’s parents enrolled him in Tae Kwon Do and once they were confident their son could protect himself, approached the school principal to let him know they had given their son permission to stand up to the bully. It wasn't long before the bully was at it again and her son confronted him and put a stop to it immediately. The bully backed down and no fight ensued. The best part is the boy was not bothered by the bully again.
“What the Bully Doesn’t Want You to Know: A Streetwise Guide to Your Bully Problem” has received numerous positive reviews. Doug from Marshfield, Minn., said, “Being the father of a young girl I am compelled to look for useful information to pass along to her to help her be safe in the world. This book is loaded with exactly the information I have been looking for.”
A veteran teacher said, “This book is a practical guide and tactical manual for parents and their kids in regard to bullying. From the explanations of the levels of violence to the different types of bullies, this book gives you the background necessary to combat the real life situations that might come up as a person being bullied. Kids get some real strategies to work on and an outline of skills to develop. Parents get a clearer understanding of the bully and what their child can expect before the attack occurs.”
“What the Bully Doesn’t Want You to Know: A Streetwise Guide to Your Bully Problem,” is available for purchase as both a printed book and e-book at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. The printed book retails for $25. The Kindle version is available for $9.99.
Sidebar: About Bulling
The American Academy of Pediatrics defines bullying as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance and is often repeated over time. Bullying can be physical, verbal and social. Physical bullying involves hitting, kicking, pushing, choking and punching. Verbal bullying is when the victim is threatened, taunted, teased or the victim of hate speech, and social bullying is when the victim is excluded from activities or has rumors started about them.
About Tristan Chermack
Today, Tristan Chermack, a former victim of bullying, teaches self-defense classes at Spirit Aikido in Eden Prairie. Spirit Aikido is part of the True North Active Body Center, which offers a variety of services and treatments for people wishing to get their bodies tuned up for health and active lifestyles. More information can be found at www.spiritaikido.com.
In addition to teaching people the techniques of Aikido, a Japanese martial art practitioners can use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury, Chermack regularly leads workshops for parents and kids on how to handle bullies using principles from “What the Bully Doesn’t Want You to Know: A Streetwise Guide to Your Bully Problem.,”