This is a topic that is so important to me. It breaks my heart to see how bullying can affect children or adults. I have heard some horror stories of how children don’t want to go to school because they are so uncomfortable in that environment. This eventually has a significant impact in several areas of their lives. Their school work suffers, they get behind, this causes added stress for them and they start to feel and believe that they cannot fix all these problems. Even Parents watching their children suffer can feel helpless sometimes.
This is where we, at our Martial Arts Academy, take action and attempt to help do the one thing that will have the biggest impact on helping these children. We want to give them CONFIDENCE.
In this article, I speak about how Martial Arts Instructors can help ... but the truth is any coach, teacher, friend etc… can take action and get involved. My son is only 4 years old and talks about his Junior Kindergarten teacher every day! This tells me that she plays a significant role in his life and he values what she does for him daily. She is actually pretty great… and we are thankful. I believe having children involved in any organised sport, or activity (dance, soccer, hockey, music) but especially martial arts (I admit, I may be bias)will have a positive impact for them.
At our academy, we try to instill confidence from the moment your child comes through our doors. They walk in, we say Hello, we high five them, and we make them feel welcome and safe! When children feel that they are in a safe environment…. they can be themselves, and when children can be themselves and see that everyone likes them and accepts them…. they become more confident.
It does not stop there…
They come into our classes… They make new friends, often long term friendships are formed. I cannot tell you how many kids we have seen meet at the academy for the first time, and in a short time, are attending each other’s birthday parties, having play dates at each other’s homes etc… The children gain all these new friends, learn to socialise in a safe environment and become more confident!
In our classes, we teach them Martial Arts. Martial Arts is the tool that we use to forge their character. We teach them to Never Give Up, we teach them to Keep Trying, We teach them that not succeeding the first time you learn a new technique is OK and that with continued effort and practice, you will succeed. When they succeed, we celebrate their success. Sometimes it’s with a small gesture.. “Good Job! Or High Five! Sometimes its with a new stripe, or a new belt level! But when we celebrate, their success, they learn that hard work pays off, and they become more confident.
I have so many more examples.. how we teach children to be confident. It would most likely add several pages to this blog. I will elaborate more on a podcast if people are interested.
But in closing, Confident Children who know they are loved by their parents, friends (in their social circles, like a martial arts class) and coaches will be less likely to be a potential victim. In martial arts classes, we do teach self-defence and ways to help prevent bullying but we hope it never comes to that. More importantly, we try to provide them with something much more important. A loving, safe atmosphere, with a support network of friends and family that will always have their back…. And when you have a full team of friends and family supporting you… BULLYING STOPS HERE!!
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