- Develop a plan with your child. Rehearse commonly unsafe conditions with them and help them to learn how to use appropriate responses like running away and telling a trusted adult, yelling loudly or fighting back.
- Ensure that your child has several trusted contacts and safe places to call or run to in the event of an emergency situation or unsafe condition. Help them to memorize phone numbers and addresses.
- Identify and teach your child several basic physical self defense moves to use if they are being attacked like kicking or punching.
- Sign them up for a martial arts training program in your area. Most martial arts schools incorporate safety awareness, stranger awareness and simple physical tactics for dealing with an attack as a part of their program.
Here’s a common mistake that teachers and parents make in their desire to help children do their very best: they offer “constructive criticism” right from the very beginning.
This can make children feel they’re being criticized before anything else.
However, if children hear praise first, they are much more willing to keep improving. We train our instructors to seek the positives first, to be “good finders.”
Once they praise our students for their efforts, only then does the instructor share ways to improve upon the student’s technique.
So it sounds like this: “I like the way you kicked. Now if you turn your foot this would be better. Great! Now do it 10 more times just like that!”
Instead of being guarded and defensive, the child is motivated by the praise to try again.
I also see this with parents. They love their child and want them to do so well that they first correct their child instead of first praising them for their efforts. This minor tweak will really boost your child’s desire to be the best.
Our instructors call this, “Praise, Correct, Praise and Challenge.”
Why is self discipline so critical to your child’s development? Because, without the ability to use self discipline or willpower to delay gratification, your child will not develop the skills necessary to excel and to compete in an increasingly complex and competitive world.
Everything in life takes work. Teaching our children to work and achieve is an important step toward the development of these skills. Martial arts training is an excellent way to start them on the road to success.
As parents we use discipline and the setting of limits to control our children’s behavior. But if we teach them to rely on our limits instead of their own they will be ill equipped to make responsible choices.
Martial arts can help your child develop this critical self discipline and self control by teaching them to work to progress in rank until they reach the ultimate goal of achieving their black belt level.
Self discipline is the key to the development of internal motivation, a healthy competitive drive, self esteem and self sufficiency. Martial arts training can help your child to develop all of these skills and more by setting a regular and consistent framework of expectation, goals and rewards.
Martial arts schools use a team approach involving both teachers and parents to coordinate goals and support the development of behaviors that help to move your child toward self discipline and self sufficiency.