As we know, the world can be a dangerous place even for children. With bullying on the rise at school and children spending more and more time on social media and video games which can present its own set of dangers, the instances of some of kind of altercation happening is continually increasing. However, as a parent or grandparent, there is only so much we can do as we are away from them for a big part of their day.
So how does one go about protecting children or grandchildren?
The best way is to have them learn to protect themselves through self-defense training. Self-defense training offers physical activity, boosts self-confidence and teaches them a way to defend themselves if needed.
Self defense training is a physical activity that not only builds body strength but also builds cardiovascular fitness which helps the heart be healthy. In this day and age, children are spending far less time outdoors or doing anything physically really due to the increased time on social media and entertainment electronics such as video games. In addition, most schools now have lessened their P.E. programs to once or twice a week. This leaves children with no cardio stamina or body strength to “fight off” a bully or predator.
Self defense will give them not only that stamina and strength but also a renewed sense of mental toughness. When one feels their body becoming stronger, the brain feels stronger too. This leads to taking pride in their physical health and can set the stage for a more active and healthier lifestyle as well as keeping them safe from the “bad guy”.
Another benefit of self-defense training is the boost in self-worth and self-confidence. Learning to defend oneself can lead to higher self-esteem which just in its self can lessen the chances of becoming a victim as bullies and predators look for those who have low confidence or esteem. When one becomes more confident in themselves and their abilities, one feels more in control of situations like bullying or even if a stranger approaches them.
That feeling of control and confidence can allow them the ability to de-escalate a bullying situation by teaching them to stand their ground, use body language, tone of voice and words to deal with the situation in a way that will keep them from letting the bully physically hurt them. Confidence that comes from self-defense can also help a child to tell a stranger no if approached for whatever reason. And will give them the mental strength needed to get help from a trusted adult instead of becoming victimized.
Children can be exposed to a lot of dangerous situations and have no idea how to protect themselves. Self-defense can first give them the ability to asses situations and deem them dangerous or not. Self-defense brings to them an ability to become aware of their surroundings and gives them the sense to trust their instincts in recognizing dangerous places, people, and situations. Self-defense also gives them the tools and techniques needed to defend themselves if an altercation with a bully or predator should take place. Without this knowledge, how could one ever expect children to know what to do if something like this should ever arise?
Learning self defense can help children increase their self-confidence to not fall prey to bullies or predators, the physical strength and stamina to outlast a bully or predator and the tools/techniques to defend themselves. As we cannot always be with our children or grandchildren, isn’t it our duty to have them learn these potentially lifesaving skills on their own?
My guess is that you have a level of protection over children or grandchildren you have, or even nieces and nephews, or even children in your neighborhood. Assuming you can’t get them to regular martial arts lessons, I wanted to leave you with a couple quick instructional tips you can teach them to start protecting them using small life lessons and examples.
The first is to teach them to speak out, and speak for themselves. Most bullying doesn’t get reported. The same is true for sexual abuse. We can start by teaching the young ones in our lives to get comfortable speaking to others. Have them order their own food at restaurants and tell them to ask for a piece of clothing at a store where they may not have their size. The more comfortable they are talking to adults, the more comfortable they will become asking for help if they need it.
The second is to get them active. As simple as it sounds, doing activities lead to a stronger body, and a stronger body leads to more confidence. Challenge them to a quick race, toss a ball with them or build an obstacle course together you both can complete.
Lastly, the third tip is to teach them basic boxing and wrestling. You don’t have to be a boxing coach to hold up your hands and teach them a “jab-cross” combo, and you don’t need to be a wrestling coach to teach kids how to do some light grappling and focus on getting to “top” positions against friends or siblings. Simple exposure goes a long way in the beginning.
Here is my point of the two different focus parts of this article. Kids will benefit from martial arts, but if they can’t do it for whatever reason, you can coach them to become stronger individuals through simpler means than you think.