The Karate Kid: Bullying

Bullying affects the life and development of children, especially adolescents, consistently because it affects their socialization, their self-esteem and self-perception. Often bullying becomes the major cause of serious psychological problems in children that can be deep-rooted in them and manifest themselves in the adult life. In addition, bullying may lead to the formation of negative models of behavior in children as they grow up, especially in relation to their family members. At the same time, bullying is always a challenge for children, especially teenagers and often they need the assistance of adults to cope with their problems and to stop bullying or minimize its negative impact on their development. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the film “The Karate Kid” (1984), which reveals the case of bullying in relation to the main character, the adolescent boy, who manages to tackle the problem with the help of his teacher. In fact, the film gives insight toward possible solutions and importance of bullying in the life of adolescents but, along with the fictional view on bullying, it is important to refer to scientific studies conducted by different researchers, which reveals a number of negative effects of bullying on adolescents’ psychology and help to elaborate effective measures of the prevention of bullying.

In fact, the film “The Karate Kid” (1984) focuses on the story of the adolescent boy, Daniel, who has substantial troubles with bully Johnny and his gang. Daniel falls in love with Ali Mills, whose former ex-boyfriend Johnny bulls him and beats him systematically. Nevertheless, Daniel does not give up and attempts to resist to his offenders. However, he cannot resist to Johnny and his gang. In such a situation, Mr. Miyagi the handyman of Daniel’s apartment helps him. Once, Mr. Miyagi protects Daniel from several bullies. After that Daniel asks him to become his teacher. Eventually, Mr. Miyagi agrees to teach him martial arts, namely karate, when they confront the sensei, John Kreese. Mr. Miyagi and Kreese agree to a match between Daniel and Johnny. Mr. Miyagi and Kreese have different philosophies for Kreese stands on the philosophy of rude bullying, whereas Mr. Miyagi stands on the philosophy of karate, which is the lifestyle and philosophy prior to the mere martial art. Eventually, in the course of the competition Daniel’s opponent, including Johnny, use dirty tricks to defeat him but they fail and Daniel, being ultimately exhausted, wins the competition and respect of the bullies. However, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that Mr. Miyagi did not just taught Daniel to fight but he also taught him a lot about the life. He offered the boy a totally new philosophy, where there was no room for bullying but reason and the set of values, according to which Miyagi lived his life.

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In such a way, the film focuses on the problem of bullying depicting that bullying as a serious problem that affects the life of the main character as well as other kids. To put it more precisely, the film shows that Johnny is the main bully, who attacks Daniel permanently. Johnny is a strong boy and it is due to his physical force he has gained the respect of other children and he has managed to create a gang, where the strongest rules. Being the strongest Johnny is naturally the leader of the gang. In such a way, the film reveals the main principles of the formation of bullying, which implies that the stronger offends the weaker, and the weaker can escape bullying joining the gang and recognizing the authority of the stronger. If the weaker, like Daniel, attempts to resist, he becomes the victim and subject to bullying not only from the part of the leader but also from the part of the entire gang. Thus, the gang becomes the power teens cannot resist to and they need the assistance of adults, such as Mr. Miyagi in the film, who can help them to solve their problems. Obviously, children facing bullying become victimized and, being unable to resist, they may suffer from serious psychological traumas, whereas bullies, feeling their power and having no threats, exercise their power. However, bullies may face the problem with the violation of existing legal norms, if they carry on bullying.

Therefore, it is important to study bullying from a scientific standpoint. At this point, it is possible to refer to the article “Recall of childhood neglect and physical abuse as differential predictors of current psychological functioning” by Gauthier and other researchers (1996). In this article, the authors focus on consequences of bullying and related psychological problems individuals may have in their adult life. In fact, if Daniel could not resist and stop bullying, he could have suffered serious psychological problems described by Gauthier (1996). In actuality, the article reveals the fact that the teenage violence can have a long-lasting effect on the life of teenagers and, what is more important, the effects of teenage violence can be traced even in the adult life of a person. In this respect, it is important to understand that teenage is a very process because it contributes to the formation of essential social experience of interaction and intimate relationships between teenagers. In such a situation, the experience teenagers acquire in their adolescence influences consistently their relationships with their partners and spouses in the adult life. To put it more precisely, cases of violence in the course of teenage influence consistently the relationships of teenagers. Moreover, the teenage violence can provoke the violent behavior of individuals in their adult life because they develop certain models of behavior in their adolescence. Later they extrapolate this experience on their adult life and relationships with other people.

At the same time, it is possible to refer to another article “Attachment disorganization: unresolved loss, relational violence and lapses in behavioral and attentional strategies” by Lyons-Ruth and Jacobvitz (1999), which focuses on behavioral changes and problems adolescents may have under the impact of or in the result of bullying. In fact, the authors of the article argue that the teenage violence can have a negative impact on teenagers’ psychology even in the adolescence. The specialists (Lyons-Ruth and Jacobvitz, 1999) point out that the teenage violence can provoke serious psychological problems in teenagers to the extent that they may suffer from depression. Another psychological aspect of negative effects of teenage violence is possible problems in relationships with peers. What is meant here is the fact that the teenagers who suffered from aggressive and violent behavior of their mates in the course of are often anxious about their experience. Moreover, victims of teenage violence can avoid development of close relationships with their peers out of fear of suffering another act of violence. In this regard, the article is close to the film, where Daniel has suffered from the exclusion, being the subject to bullying. The boy had considerable problems in communication with his peers because they believed him to be dangerous. To put it more precisely, if Daniel remained the subject to bullying, his friends could also become victims of bullies. In such a way, the film shows the exclusion of victims of bullying from their peers’ society. On the other hand, Daniel did not really trust his peers, who could not resist to bullies and were unwilling to. He considered them being too weak and unworthy of communicating with. Therefore, the article “Attachment disorganization: unresolved loss, relational violence and lapses in behavioral and attentional strategies” raises an important problem, which was described in the film as well, the problem of communication gaps between victims of bullying and their peers.

On the other hand, offenders may grow more and more aggressive and violent in their behavior, if they succeed in violence. In this respect, it is important to lay emphasis on the fact that teenagers’ psychology is not stable, whereas their physiological changes make their behavior unpredictable. In such a situation, teenagers inclined to violent and aggressive behavior can manifest their violent inclinations. However, the more frequent are cases of violence, the more aggressive teenagers become because they believe that violent and aggressive behavior is a norm. They grow confident in their power to abuse other teenagers and, thus, they develop violent models of behavior. Potentially, this may lead to the deviant and antisocial behavior of teenage offender who can become juvenile offenders or sociopath because of the systematic use of violence.

At the same time, it is important to understand causes of bullying. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the article “Long term consequences of childhood physical abuse” by Malinosky-Rummell and Hansen, who explore causes of violence and bulling among children. In fact, the authors of the article view the roots of bullying and violence in the family life of children and their relations with their parents as well as relationships between their parents. What is meant here is the fact that the authors of the article stand on the ground that children can borrow violent models of behavior from their violent parents and extrapolate these models of behavior on other children. At the same time, the authors of the article argue that neglected children may also develop aggressive and violent models of behavior or, in contrast, become victims from the part of their peers and bullies because they have no one to support them. At this point, it is possible to refer to the film, which shows that Daniel was alone in face of his problems. He did not have the father, who could have supported him or given him a piece of advice. This is why Mr. Miyagi is so important for him because he becomes not just a teacher but also a sort of father for the boy. His support helps him to cope with his problems.

In such a way, teenage violence may have destructive impact on psychology and social relations of teenagers. Teenagers develop different models of behavior and acquire their experience of intimate relationships in their adolescence. If they suffer from the teenage violence, they may naturally have problems in their relationships with their mates not only in adolescence but also in their adult life, whereas teenage offenders can become extremely aggressive and violent. Therefore, the prevention of the teenage violence becomes extremely important in terms of the prevention of psychological and social problems in teenagers. Bullying affects consistently the life of children and their adult life as well.

At this point, the authors of the articles discussed above place emphasis on the fact that bullying and violence among children can have long-run effects on children and their adult life. At the same time, roots of bullying could be found in the family life and problems within the family of bullies as well as their victims. In such a situation, children need the assistance of adults, such as Mr. Miyagi, who helped Daniel and guided him through all his troubles teaching him not only to fight but also to live right. Thus, the film shows that bullying is a serious problem, which children alone cannot solve but they need the assistance of adults.

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