It’s your friendly neighborhood martial arts instructor here. As you can imagine, our school deals a LOT with bullies. You could say we’re experts on the subject. Well, this is the biggest bully deterrent out there. Hint: It’s NOT knowing how to punch or kick really hard.
No, it’s something that’s a bit harder to teach: confidence.
Bullies prey on the weak. They can sense lack-of-confidence like a hawk can spot a wounded animal. And then they pounce. But they back away from confidence. Why? Well, they’re scared themselves. Fear is all they know.
Pride? Self-respect? These are foreign concepts to the bully. Sadly, many of them have poor home lives. They’re victims themselves. Confidence is a delicate thing to teach a child though. However, these things seem to help quite a bit:
– Encouraging their passions.
– Positive, kind words and praise.
– Listening to your child (really listening)
Self-defense skills help a lot, too. When kids feel safe, confidence is a natural side-effect.
If nothing else, parents sleep better knowing their kids can protect themselves from any bully who comes their way 😉
If you’re interested in a program that’ll teach your kids self-defense, and positive life skills like goal-setting & discipline . . . then you came to the right person . . . “ME!” . . . your friendly neighborhood martial arts instructor.
You might be wondering why a martial arts instructor like me, talks about building and boosting your child’s confidence and self-esteem, imparting positive life skills on goal-setting and discipline. And most of all, is there a relation between martial arts and building, boosting one’s confidence and self-esteem and positive life skills on goals-setting and discipline? But before I’ll answer that, let me share to you some of the self-defense strategies for your child to use to combat bullying.
First, let me clarify when I’ve mentioned self-defense techniques. This has nothing to do with initiating a fight like hitting or striking another person. It has something to do with being aware of your surroundings, listening and trusting your gut, walking away or as much as possible evading before a problem erupts, the use of your voice to show confidence and to carry yourself with confidence.
Here are some of the strategies that your kids can use to defend themselves:
• Have a confident body language
Building your child’s self-esteem and carrying themselves with confidence isn’t an easy thing to teach your child but you can do it through maintaining good posture. This says a lot about the child long before they even say a word—it eliminates the chance of bullies perceiving them as an easy target.
• Be surrounded with group of friends
Work with your child and encourage them to build and establish friendships. Most bullies tend to prey on children who are loners as they see them as easier to intimidate. Around friends, your child is not only more confident, but bullies would certainly avoid having to deal with an entire group of people.
• Awareness of the surroundings
It is best to teach your child to be aware of his/her surroundings. Bullies aren’t just other kids in school. Sometimes, your child might encounter them outside of it too. Is there are suspicious looking stranger hanging around? Do they feel safe? Teach them to listen to their instincts and always be aware of what’s happening around them.
• Flight is best than fight
With kids being very impulsive, they can often choose the wrong thing to do when caught in a stressful situation. Between fight and flight, which one works best for bullies? Of course, the answer would be to simply walk away. You have to teach your children that doing so is not a sign of cowardice; rather, it’s showing the bully that they will not play their game. To fight means escalating things which could potentially get out of hand. Teach your child how to recognize a situation that could lead to something dangerous and make sure they understand why it is much better to leave the fight rather than participate in it.
• Have a strong confident voice
Teach your child to develop a confident and assertive voice. This also lends them a very commanding presence, one that’s able to ward bullies away. Practice with them, give them the know-how to firmly yet calmly state their thoughts. With enough repetition, your child would be able to repeat this in any situation confidently.
How does martial arts help in building a child’s confidence? Well, think of it this way. When you know you’re capable of something, do you not feel more in control? That feeling lends itself to confidence. If a child knows how to handle certain situations, even under pressure, they develop the confidence to assert themselves. Of course, martial arts also teaches people of all ages, the value of discipline and self-control. It can give your children the ability to better manage their anger—so instead of lashing out, they are able to tackle the issue more calmly.
Do remember, however, that these techniques are not meant to encourage fighting between children. Martial arts combines these combat techniques with a healthy sense of battle ethics—one that teaches them to only use what they know as a means of protecting themselves or the people they care for.