It's one thing to know that bullying can have negative affects on your child. It's entirely another thing to know how to help your child handle being bullied, or what to do is someone else is being bullied. We tell our kids things like "just ignore them", or "its okay to stand up for yourself" but this doesn't usually translate into a resolution for your child. Often a parent feels powerless to help their child cope with these types of situations. But... it's imperative that kids learn to handle bullying while they are young. Bullies don't go away just because we grow older. They just take on different forms. They become the abuse boss, the passive-aggressive coworker, or a verbally abusive spouse. So... if kids don't learn anti-bullying skills early on, they will become adults who find themselves in similarly powerless situations as they grow up. The truth is, the only, way to handle a bully is to confront them and end the bullying. We teach our students three steps to resolving bullying situations. (Now I want to be clear... I can't take credit for these steps. Gracie Jiu-jitsu has a wonderful Bulletproof program that parents can use to help their kids and since they have done such a great job, it didn't make sense to try to reinvent the wheel. If you want to work with your kids at home you should check out their program - http://www.gracieacademy.com/bully_proof.asp.)
Yes... sometimes its that simple. Tell the bully to stop doing what they are doing. If your child looks the bully in the eye and tells them with confidence that they don't want to be bothered any more, that may be enough. This only works if the child is calm and confident when they speak. This is something you can role play with your child at home. You want them to focus on being calm and not overly aggressive but at the same time displaying confidence. Remember... bullies get their power from fear. They aren't really interested in fighting but they do enjoy the attention they get from picking on less confident kids. They will move on to an easier target if your child stands up for themselves. Another important thing to note about this step is it teaches your child to solve their problems at the lowest level. If you have a complaint you should take it the person who can solve it, not everyone else. The first person who can solve the bullying problem is the bully.
Sometimes talking to the bully and telling them to stop won't be enough. Step 2 is to tell someone in authority that can help you solve the problem. This is how conflict resolution works in the real world and its how it works with bullying as well. If Step 1 fails, then your child should talk to a teacher, the school principle or counselor, and to you as well. The student talking to the person in authority may be enough to get the job done but it may also require you as a parent to run some interference as well and make sure that school officials understand the gravity of the situation. Just like Step 1, as a parent you should demonstrate conflict resolution skills to your child by showing that you can work the right people to help them solve the problem.
In a lot of cases telling people in authority about the bullying situation will help partially resolve it. But often the bully will simply be more cautious about when and where they do the bullying and make sure that people in authority don't see it. In those cases, it is going to end up being up to your child to handle the situation. How your child handles the confrontation will determine whether the situation ends, or continues for weeks, months, or even years. We teach the exact script on how to verbally tackle the bully in our classes. It is also in the student homework in our Facebook Membership Groups. The truth is, the confrontation will rarely result in a fight because the bully gets their power from fear, not from fighting. If forced to fight they lose that power.This may seem counterintuitive in an academic setting where everyone gets expelled if they are involved in a fight. However, bullying won't end until the bully is confronted and that has to be done in a way the doesn't end in a fight, or if a fight ensues, that a child knows how to control the bully in a way that nobody gets hurt. This minimizes the chances they will get expelled... especially if they can explain all the steps they took to resolve the situation and not hurt the bully.
The most important factor in ending bullying is your child having confidence that they can handle the situation. Martial arts is a phenomenal tool for building the confidence and self-esteem necessary to handle bullies. If you are a student with 3T Karate in the San Antonio area then see one of your instructors to schedule a private lesson to role play the verbal self-defense and find out how you as a parent can help your child build the confidence necessary to stand up for themselves. Review the homework on the membership page in Facebook and spend time role playing situations so your kids feel more comfortable applying what they are learning in their karate classes. If you aren't currently a 3T Karate student, then call 3T Karate in San Antonio (210-441-8319) and set an appointment to speak with one of our wonderful instructors so we can start your child on the road to being bullyproof. In additional to helping your child stand up to bullies, we will help build their confidence, improve their focus, increase their athleticism, and develop success skills like self-discipline and mental toughness.
Last week we discussed past victories as a source of confidence… especially when trying new things. That’s because at the heart of the matter of developing confidence in our kids is the concept of competence.
It comes from a person's inner belief that they can handle and succeed at the things life has to throw at them. You can praise your kids all day long but if they know in their heart that they didn’t succeed or didn’t give their best effort that external praise will not build their confidence or self-esteem. We can give children all the participation trophies and awards and achievement certificates we want… that won’t give them confidence unless they know they did something that deserved to be recognized. We have all received an award or achievement at some point or another that was hollow because we knew we didn’t do anything that truly deserved to be rewarded. Don’t underestimate children. They know the difference too. When they look in the mirror they have to see a lion. If they don’t…. no amount of talking or awards will change how they feel about themselves.
But there is something you can do to help them build true confidence...
Everyone knows that if you become good at something you gain confidence in that area. That confidence carries over into other things in life. Many parents want their kids to experience many different things… and that isn't necessarily a bad idea. However, being a little good at a lot of things doesn’t have the same effect on one’s confidence as becoming really good at one thing.
Well… it doesn't really matter. It could be sports, scouts, a hobby, martial arts, or even music. Your role is to help your child make an extended commitment to the chosen skill or area. After awhile a child we begin to receive recognition for their efforts and their skill. Their friends will hold them in higher regard because of the expertise and competence. Adults will recognize them for their achievements in that area or skill. That in turn will cause them to become more confident. The increased confidence will continue to help them build their competence which in turn builds their confidence. That every increasing spiral of confidence will help them to become more assertive and take leadership roles in other areas of their lives.
This is one of the main reasons we ask students to commit to achieving their Black Belts before moving into Advanced Skills training. We know that a student that makes an extended commitment to something and then masters it over time will develop the competence required to truly gain confidence. That confidence will spill over into every other aspect of their life. Again… it doesn’t matter what a child gains their competence in… but martial arts is especially well suited to this task.
Remember… being somewhat good at a lot of things does not produce confidence. Being really good at one thing does!
A person with Confidence cuts a wide path through life. Doors will open for them that remain shut for those that are timid and sit on the sidelines of life. Most kids are born with all the confidence they will ever need but then something happens.... kids begin to hear things like "you're not as smart as your brother" or "girls aren't supposed to do that." They hear "you aren't as fast, big, talented, thin, athletic....", enter whatever adjective you want. Those negative words, thinking and experiences cause kids to lose that initial confidence they are born with. With that they lose their excitement and optimism about what the future holds.
So how do you teach your kids confidence? Remember...
1. Confidence is a skill... which means it can be developed.
2. Body language influences confidence level. A confident posture will lead to confident emotions and thinking.
3. Past events profoundly influence current confidence. Focus on past victories. Refuse to dwell on past defeats.
4. Getting out of our comfort zone is necessary to developing self-confidence.
5. Confident behaviors must be reinforced with positive feedback.
Over the next couple of weeks I will post more specific information on this important topic.
Also... we have started a new Facebook Group that will have tons of tips and resources on developing Character & Values in your kids! Join the group... add your friends and family: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Team3TCharacterConection/
Myself and my two boys enter the airport. I give my older son his boarding pass and ask “what next?” From there he guides my 6 year old and I through the security line at the airport all the way to our gate where we sit and wait for our plane. We change planes in Dallas and finally arrive at the baggage pickup at our final destination. The entire trip, from beginning to end, he leads us. He was 11 at the time I wrote this.
I have parents tell me… “wow… that’s amazing”, or “wow… my kid could never do that.” But this didn’t "just happen by accident”. This is just one of the many skills that I’ve decided are important for both of my boys to master before turning 18. A few other things on that very long list include life skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing, basic vehicle and house maintenance, gardening, healthy eating, physical fitness, computer skills, time and money management, critical thinking skills, relationship skills, reading, music, swimming and self-defense. The list also includes character attributes and values such discipline, respect, generosity, a positive attitude, courage, commitment to their faith, personal accountability, mental toughness and perseverance, delayed gratification, integrity, contribution and a sense of fair play.
Almost everyone I talk to is currently disappointed with the state of America today. Their disappointment and frustration exist on multiple levels but the root cause can always be traced back to our society’s lack of personal accountability, moral and ethical bankruptcy, and incompetence and ineptitude from people with an attitude of entitlement. I believe, as do many others, that correcting the course of our country will not come from our government or its policies and programs. Our best hope of positive change starts in the home with what we teach our children and who we help them to become.
So today I want to ask you a VERY important question. What is is your “Plan” for your child? Other than some "vague idea" about how you want to raise them, have you ever really created a plan for your child’s development? I ask this because in my many years of teaching martial arts I have met many, many well-intentioned “good” parents who have an idea about what type of young man or woman they want their child to grow up to be, but have never developed a plan to get there. This is like deciding you want to travel from San Francisco to New York City without a road map. While that may or may not be a fun trip, the development of our children is far too important to leave to chance. Our children have so many values and skills they need to learn and we have such a short time to teach them and guide them. It really is both an awesome blessing and an awesome responsibility that God has given us in our children, and we should treat it as such. For most of us it will be the most important and significant thing we will ever do in our lives.
If you are one of those parents who has really thought out your role in your child’s development and has decided on a plan, congratulations. If not, then here are a few tips to get you started. Things to consider in your planning:
What personal character attributes, values and morals are most important to you?
What physical life skills do you want your kids to learn?
What skills and lessons will be appropriate to teach at what ages?
Which lessons can be taught and mastered after one or two times and which will take longer, perhaps years to teach?
Which ones are non-negotiable absolutes and which others would you like to teach but if you didn’t get to it, things would still be ok?
How will you teach these lessons? What other people or organizations can you enlist to aid you in imparting the knowledge, wisdom, values and skills you wish to pass on? (Example: your church, karate, boy/girl scouts, team sports, etc…)
Understand that there are no right or wrong answers. What you feel is important should be the things that you focus on and that will be different from family to family. I realized a long time ago that it wasn’t my job to teach my kids what to think, but rather “how” to think. It wasn’t for me to choose who they would become but it was up to me to teach them “how” to become who they want to be. It isn’t my job to live my kids lives for them, they have to do that for themselves. What is my job? To teach them. To guide them. To mentor them. To give them the skills they need to survive and navigate the world. To help them create the opportunities to discover and achieve their God-given talents and potential. If you aren't sure where to start, consider martial arts training at a quality school such as 3T Karate to help you. Martial arts helps build character and leadership skills that will provide your child with a solid foundation upon which to build your plan, or it can act as positive reinforcement of the plan you already have if you are one of those parents that is already actively engaged.
In the financial world they say that “most people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.” I think the very same thing is true in raising our children. We all know that our kids don’t come with an owners manual. The up side to that is… because they don’t come with one already, you are the one who gets to write it!
So… what is your plan ?
In a society that seems to glorify violence in everything from music to movies and video games to television shows, the idea of enrolling your child in martial arts training classes might like an tacit endorsement of violent behavior. While martial arts-centered action films seem to be filled to the brim with violent behavior and gory injuries, you may be surprised to learn that martial arts’ training is actually very save and extremely beneficial to kids. Like so many other things that Hollywood doesn’t always get right, martial arts isn’t quite the brutal, vicious pastime that it's portrayed as. In fact, here are 10 of the many reasons why you may want to consider martial arts training for your kids...
1. Fostering Self-Discipline – One of the central tenets of martial arts at 3T is an absolute focus on self-discipline. Today’s kids are so accustomed to receiving instant gratification that lessons in self-restraint and discipline aren’t always easy to come by. Kids with a martial arts background, however, are continually reminded of how essential self-discipline is.
2. Boosting Socialization Skills – Kids who don’t always thrive in highly social environments or team sports may find it easier to get to know people and make new friends when they’re in a room filled with peers who share a common interest. The kids on the playground may not always have much common ground, but devotees to the martial arts are able to get to know one another through shared pursuits. Partner-driven drills engage kids by pairing them together to build skills.
3. Encouraging Physical Activity – Limiting screen time is a great idea when it comes to getting kids off the couch and encouraging them to be more active, but it only goes so far. Enrolling an inactive child in a physically demanding pastime not only discourages the sedentary lifestyle they are used to, but also gives them an enjoyable activity that inspires them to keep moving and become fit and healthy.
4. Learning to Set and Achieve Goals – Our colored belts system signify the wearer’s degree of skill. This allows a student to learn to value of short and longer term goals in their pursuit of a black belt. It teaches the goal-setting process and emphasizes the formula for success: Success = Effort over Time. When your child strives toward each new belt, they learning valuable lessons about setting and reaching his goals and about overcoming the obstacles they will inevitably encounter along the way. This teaches has the added benefit of teaching them personal accountability along the way.
5. Increased Self-Esteem – Confidence comes with competence and actual achievement. Your child's self-esteem level will gain a boost every time they master a new move or earn a new belt. Kids who struggle with a low sense of self-worth or who act out negatively to gain attention will usually become more confident as their martial arts training progresses and they are rewarded for positive behaviors and achievements.
6. Instilling a Sense of Respect – At 3T Karate in Swansea we place a high emphasis on the value of respect. A child who doesn't learn respect when they are young does not become a teenager or young adult who suddenly becomes respectful. Today’s kid culture doesn’t always include respect for authority, adults or those in advanced positions. Our 3T Karate classes emphasis lessons in respect and over time your child will learn to respect authority, respect their peers, and most importantly, respect themselves.
7. Encouraging Non-Violent Conflict Resolution – We encourage and teach our students many forms of alternative methods of conflict avoidance that don't require violence. Once a child has gained respect for themselves and confidence in their abilities they are much more capable of enacting a peaceful, non-violent response to conflict. We emphasize awareness and respect as the first lines of self-defense in any situation and teach students the ABCs of Conflict Avoidance and the 5 Rules Of Personal Safety. Physical responses to conflict are taught only as a last resort where no other options are available and a student feels they are physically in danger of being hurt or injured.
8. Improving Listening Skills – In order to master the skills they are being taught and advance through the belt ranks, your child will have to exercise superior listening skills both at home and in the martial arts studio. Your child will learn the 5 Listening Skills we teach our students and will be required to use them at home, at school and at the dojo in order to advance in rank. Learning and applying these skills in class helps them to learn and apply them in other areas of their life.
9. Developing Teamwork Skills – Whether they are breaking boards to get a new belt or working in a practice setting to master a new skill, there are few things that your child does in his martial arts classes that will be done on his own. Working together to learn new things and accomplish goals is an important life lesson for kids to learn, and instruction in the martial arts can help your child learn that lesson.
10. Improvement in Other Areas of Life – The benefits of martial
arts training don’t end in the dojo. The boost in confidence, focus, and self-discipline,
along with an increased fitness level and new cooperation skills will also help
your child navigate the academic and social aspects of school, affect his behavior
at home and have an all-around good influence on him or her as they develops into
In addition to the many benefits martial arts holds for your child, you may even find that training is the perfect activity for your entire family to do together. It is a perfect activity for busy families who want to spend time together while getting fit and learning real self-defense and conflict avoidance skills they can apply in life.
Ready to sign up? Contact the location nearest to you :
San Antonio, Texas
Belleville/O'Fallon/Fairview Heights, Illinois
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Courage is the ability to overcome fear in order to do what is right, even if it is difficult or risky. Courage can mean facing physical dangers, but it can also mean standing up for beliefs and making hard decisions on the basis of evidence rather than on what is popular thing to do. One of the hardest ways to be brave and couragous is to stand up for what we believe in and say "NO" to others when they are doing something that we don't feel is right. Sometimes it can be hard to say "NO" to dangerous or risky things our friends want us to do if we haven't thought about it in advance. Here are some tools you can use to make better decisions and use your moral courage to say "No".
THE THREE STEP SELF-PROTECTION PROCESS
1. Apply the trouble rule! Ask "will this break a rule or law ?"
2. Make a good decision! Think carefully about the risks and consequences of your actions and be responsible for the outcome.
3. Act fast to avoid trouble! Use one or more of the six action steps to keep or get yourself out of trouble.
THE SIX ACTION STEPS
1. Just say "NO!"
3. Make a joke
4. Suggest something better to do
5. Make an excuse (i.e. my dad would get mad if I did that)
6. Act shocked
Remember... even if 5000 other people agree on a false assumption, it is still a false assumption. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into things you are know are wrong. Have the moral courage to stand up and face your fear !
How do you handle it with your kids when a martial arts instructor, teacher, coach, pastor, or anyone else in a position of authority does something that creates disappointment? I'm not talking about the kind of disappointment they feel when someone doesn't give them what they want or talks to them sternly. I'm talking about the gut-wrentching disappointment that comes from feeling betrayed. The kind that comes from finding out people aren't always who they say they are. The kind that steals their innocence... when they discover that the world isn't really a warm and fuzzy place and things aren't always as they seem. How we handle these situations has a huge impact on how our children will ultimately view the world as adults. It can make the difference between them living in a world of love, faith and trust with a few bumps of disappointment thrown in along the way or them becoming cynical, bitter human beings who see the world as a bad place. We have a responsibility as parents to help our kids view the world in the former light and not the later.
Here is the truth... humankind is flawed and we live in a fallen world. This world can be a harsh and unforgiving place. People will disappoint you! People will use you. You will get stepped on by people to further their own agenda. And sometimes people just outright behave badly and do bad things... even those in positions of authority and those who hold themselves up as role models. You will be hurt. And more than likely these things will happen to you more than once in your lifetime.
With this truth it becomes very easy to focus on and get caught up in the negativity. But you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Because one person is bad or betrays you or can't be trusted, doesn't mean that all people will hurt or disappoint you. We have many things to be thankful and grateful for and it is easy when something bad happens to focus on those negatives and forget the overwhelming number of positives that we have in our lives.
As parents I think we have a responsibility to help our children keep a proper perspective on the negative things that happen in their lives and to continue to help them to focus on the positives. Every day we have real life situations that can be used as teaching lessons ab out life. Kids are going to learn life lessons. It's better if those lessons have our thumb-print on them. When something bad happens... talk to your kids. Show them how to put it into a proper perspective. If you can't talk to them, or they won't talk to you about certain things, then find another trusted adult who can help them to understand the world around them with a proper perspective. Use the bad things in life, just as we use the good ones, to teach our kids and make them stronger !
Parents bring their kids to martial arts for many different reasons.
1. To learn focus and concentration
2. To become better listeners and improve academics
3. To develop self-control, self-discipline and obedience
4. To improve self-confidence and self-esteem
5. To enhance balance, coordination and athleticism
6. Improving social skills through respect and manners
7. To learn basic martial arts and self-defense skills
8. To teach them strategic self-defense such as bully proofing and stranger alert skills
Parents play a significant role in how successful their child will be in their martial arts training. It is a long term process and children will need their parents help to set the goal to become a black belt and learn how to commit and follow through. Making the commitment to the black belt ensures they will be with 3T long enough for us to make a permanent positive impact in their lives. There are many ways you can help your child along the way. For example, always give your child ample warning before it is time to stop other activities and leave for karate class. Never ask your child if they want to go to class. Martial arts is just like school. Even when they don't "feel like it", they go anyway. After class, anchor your child's enthusiasm by asking questions and reminding them how much fun they had. Do your best to keep their attendance consistent and make up missed classes. Missed classes can lead to poor performance and will make children demotivated and is very detrimental to developing confidence. Also... don't be afraid to ask for additional help if your child needs it. Regularly scheduling short private lessons with an instructor or senior student will help them develop their martial arts and develop strong relationships that will keep them engaged and excited about their training. And then there help with home practice...
Once a child achieves green belt, regular practice at home is necessary for continued rank advancement. However, during the first year of training we encourage home practice but extremely structured home practice is not required. The most important thing is to help your child to succeed is to develop a habit of attending class consistently and enjoying their classes. We have prepared KIAI (Karate Inspiring Action Immediately) homework assignments that are age and skill appropriate and will help guide you on the types of things they should be working on at home. Keep these training tips in mind as you work together with your child.
1. Be Consistent - If you are going to practice, designate practice times and stick with them.
2. Keep Practices Short - Practice sessions should only be 10-15 minutes; even less is acceptable for beginner and very young students
3. Reward Effort - Be as encouraging as possible so students will enjoy practicing
4. Don't Be Too Picky - Slowly but surely form will improve so don't expect too much too soon; try to find two positive thigns for anything you try to correct
5. Make It Fun - This is the single most important factor in long-term success for students; keep them fun by having them teach you what they learned in class and by using various training aids such as curriculum videos and pads
Making the choice and commitment to become a black belt will be one of the most impactful things your child will ever do in their life. It will take help and encouragement from you as their parent, over the long haul, for them to obtain this momumental achievement.