Every parent wishes for smooth interactions between their kids and their classmates, anticipates new, budding friendships and prompt solutions from teachers and caregivers when things go wrong on occasion. Sadly, reality often doesn’t match these high hopes, leaving parents frustrated, confused, and angry, while children remain vulnerable to being bullied in the place where they spend most of their awake hours during the school year.
Bullying: the Reality
Bullying is a staggering problem in the U.S., where nearly 50% of children report experiencing it at least once throughout their student years. Despite of this sobering number, there are no federally mandated anti-bullying classes, nor mandatory school staff training to combat this serious epidemic. The long-lasting effects of bullying on children are not fully understood either.
The good news is: more and more schools recognize the need for radical changes, to implement educational anti bullying classes, and initiate a deeper, more appropriate conversation between the institutions and the parents to find new, working methods to make school a more welcoming, positive experience for all children.
Yet the problem persists, and it is likely to cause a few difficult moments to many parents across the nation, leaving them wondering whether or not they could do something more, preparing their children better, or help them to develop various coping mechanisms that could not only aid them against bullying, but give them important life skills for decades to come.
Martial Arts: Your Best Bet Against Bullying
You may be surprised, yet it is true: children who participate in martial arts fare much better in school and life in general. It is important to stress, however, that these classes do not teach, nor encourage the use of violence under any circumstances, and this also means that bullied children are trained to use self-defense only as an absolute last resort to stop bullying, in case of physical attack. While it is a crucial life skill to have, physical force can never be the proper solution to schoolyard conflicts.
Luckily there are other, greater benefits: instead of teaching how to stop bullying, they focus on training your child to learn valuable personal skills. The following list includes the most outstanding advantages your child could experience as a result of taking these extracurricular classes this school year.
These classes teach excellent socialization skills: from the first moment to the last, they promote interacting in an equally polite and respectful way with teachers and other students. Being able to implement these newly acquired interpersonal skills in a school setting, your child may not only be able to completely avoid being hurt, but may become a positive example to others about using positive communication skills to stop bullying.
It is extremely important for your child to learn that while conflicts are usually an inevitable part of life, violence and harming others are not. Under no circumstances it is acceptable to hurt others, physically or otherwise. These classes teach children to be more resilient, to be able to take the hardships of life without reacting in negative and improper ways, to not to worry so much about the effects of bullying, rather, conduct themselves in ways that help to avoid or solve conflicts, instead of allowing them to escalate any further.
It is generally true: children that display a healthy dose of self-confidence are less likely to be targeted by bullies. These classes are known to help kids to feel more positive about their abilities: by teaching them to bravely face their fears, by allowing them to master their skills in challenging situations, and by letting them feel accomplished every time they overcome self-doubt, they become more ready each day to handle difficult tasks in school, with peers, and virtually in all areas of life.
Developing self-discipline further enhances one’s ability to masterfully guide all thoughts and actions towards accomplishing the desired goals. By meticulously building new routines and skills, these classes can help your child to aim high, remain persistent, and never give up on their dreams, regardless of what difficulties may come their way. This is an incredibly important skill to have when dealing with negative classmates who may make fun of your child, not see the benefit in hard work and delayed satisfaction.
A slightly different skill from discipline, focus helps a child to remain in the moment, pay attention to their breathing, slow down, and treat the next course of action as their primary responsibility. By helping them to not to be scattered, these classes are known to help children to improve their academic skills and grades as well, creating well-rounded individuals who are capable to respond to the various, ongoing challenges and requirements of school and life in a healthy and balanced way.
An important skill these classes usually focus on building is the art of learning to be patient. In our modern world even children are conditioned to expect immediate results and instant gratification, yet the most successful ones in school and life are indeed the ones who learn to relax, not push too hard, and be able to just wait for the good things to show up that they have worked so hard for. Assuming this attitude may become your child’s best bet during difficult times with peers.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it provides some insight into the vast benefits martial arts classes can offer your child to avoid being bullied.
If you would like to learn more about the US Government’s Anti Bullying Campaign online, please visit www.StopBullying.gov