School should be a safe haven for our children, but more often than not, it is becoming a place where anxiety and fear run rampant as students are subjected to bullying and emotional abuse by others. Bullies use frightening physical and mental tactics to exert their power over those they consider less valuable than themselves, when it is they who suffer from some deep-seated inadequacies that cause them to act out in ways that are harmful to others.
It is so disheartening as a parent to learn that your child has suffered at the hands of bullies, and we want nothing more than to be there to fight those battles for them. As tempting as that may be at times, it is more important that we arm them with the tools that they need–mentally, emotionally, and physically—-to grow in confidence knowing that they can put a stop to it with a little assistance.
Long-Term Effects Of Being Bullied
Some kids do not outgrow the pain of being bullied in childhood. Studies have shown that being victims of these behaviors are less mentally healthy than their untouched counterparts, and they are less likely to ask for help when it is needed. They may develop unhealthy coping mechanisms as adults; it is not uncommon for these people to experience self-destructive relationships, to develop addictions, and to isolate themselves from others, believing that people only bring pain.
Bullies exist in the adult world too, but we develop self-defense strategies and coping behaviors that allow us to distance ourselves from others that we perceive may not be good for us. Children, especially those in a school setting, are surrounded by people not by choice, but by circumstance, and some of these pairings are not beneficial to any of them. Confrontations with bullies can be very intimidating and leave victims feeling like there is no escape from the painful reality that they live in. As parents, we need to equip them with the right tools so that they can regain their confidence and find their voice once more.
Have You Considered Martial Arts For Your Child?
The use of Eastern self-defense tactics can do wonders for your child as they stand up to the bullies in their life. No matter what branch of martial arts training you choose to undertake, there are some solid strategies that they can take away from training that can help them protect themselves as they safely navigate their world:
1. Kids learn to adopt physical postures and firm footing that communicate that they are not to be messed with. Most bullies won’t attempt to stand up against aggressive stances like these.
2. They learn the art of breathing to slow heart rate and dissolve anxiety and fear in the face of adversity.
3. Kids learn to subdue and control their fear in extreme circumstances.
4. Kids learn to relate to others in more authentic and bold ways.
5. Kids are given a vocabulary that allows them to diffuse situations before they escalate into full-blown conflict.
Other strategies you can learn to employ as a parent while they go through training include
- Keeping lines of communication open so your child feels they can share with you
- Sharing your past experiences with bullies so that they don’t feel isolated or alone
- Practice role-playing so your child can visualize successful coming through a situation unharmed
- Supporting them through training and getting them to see added benefits from studying its discipline
Techniques That Go Beyond Mere Confidence
We know that we are raising kids in a crazy world; any tools that can be used for long term safety and success are considered an asset to them and peace of mind to us. Demanding jobs, financial pressures, and relationship strife all lend themselves perfectly to the development of harassing behaviors that we can fall victim to. Upon beginning to study Kung Fu, Karate, or Tae Kwon Do, you’ll see that your child begins to relate to the world around him a bit differently.
Children who study are more comfortable in their own skin. There is a self-assurance that comes with knowing one can handle self-defense; natural born leaders are created out of this sense of assuredness in the ability to handle anything that comes their way. It is a beautiful thing to watch this discipline assist a child in growing and realizing his or her fullest potential.
Picking The Right Method for Your Child
While it would be nice to have a guarantee that everything will flow smoothly for your child at school and beyond, the reality is that they need to be equipped to handle adverse situations with the grace and strength that will draw others to them for the right reasons. Knowing what kind of personality your child has and what their likes and dislikes are will help to determine what kind of study should be pursued.
Does your child dislike physical contact or tight spaces? Steer clear of Juno. While Tae Kwon Do and Karate both work on striking and blocking techniques, one requires more hand to hand combat, while the other capitalizes on leg strength and agility. Kids who love the prospect of coming out on top in a fight should gravitate toward kickboxing.
If you are not sure where your kiddo fits with regard to a specific discipline, enroll them in a combination class where they can get a little taste of all offerings; knowing a bit more about each will help you to make an educated decision that your child will stick with for the long haul. Who knows? You may be looking at a future black belt someday.
More Tools: More Peace Of Mind
You may not be able to follow them around during their daily activities, but you can equip your children with the tools to use to help stop and even prevent bullying from happening to themselves and others. Your child–and countless others, will thank you as they see that these cowards in disguise can be stopped, and each child can have positive school experience.