We spend a lot of time talking about bullying as karate instructors. We feel it’s important that kids are emotionally, mentally, and physically prepared to handle anything that comes their way during some of the hardest years of their lives.
And if you’ve ever felt the effects of bullying, you’ll know how it can be humiliating and demeaning. Ninety percent of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying, so although no one can be fully bully-proofed, there are things we can teach kids to cope with bullying situations.
Build Your Crew
Friends can sometimes act as a shield of sorts, giving your child the strength they might need to overcome sticky situations. As Brene Brown puts it, human connection is the whole reason of our human existence.
More important than friendships is the parent/child relationship. Maintain a positive relationship with you, so they feel comfortable in confiding in you, otherwise you may never know if they are being bullied. Your relationship with them can help model a positive relationship they can build with their friends.
As a parent, you can be the example of fostering good relationships with friends, relatives, people from church or some other groups, etc. Show them how to interact with others by introducing themselves, starting conversations, maintaining eye contact, joining activities, and showing interest.
Teach Your Child Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is understanding your own emotions. When children are comfortable with their emotions, they are more confident in relationships, with social status, success, and happiness. Emotionally intelligent children are also less likely to be shaken by the actions or words of a bully because they can understand emotions like anger, disappointment, fear, and sadness.
You can increase your child’s emotional intelligence by:
Teach Your Child Confidence
Oftentimes, bullies prey on victims who they see as isolated or easy to intimidate. When your child is confident in their abilities or even assertive, they can stand up for themselves without being aggressive or passive. They’ll be respectful, even when stating their feelings. Here are some ways you can teach your child to be more confident:
Bully-Proofing at East Mesa Karate
We want all kids to have the confidence to know what to do if they feel they’re being bullied. If you want to learn more about how we bully-proof kids, stop by our school, call us at 480-986-7177 or fill out our online form.
“Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…,” says Debbie Millman in a commencement speech.
At least, that’s one mindset. Since the 1960s, Carol Dweck, a Stanford researcher, studied perseverance and motivation. She found that children fall into two categories of mindsets:
Children with a fixed mindset believe you have as much knowledge as you’re born with. They think that if you have the ability, things come to you naturally. When failure inevitably happens, kids feel trapped. They start thinking they must not be as smart of talented as others have told them, so they start to avoid challenges to avoid looking unintelligent.
Children with a growth mindset believe intelligence can be gained through learning. They understand that even the smartest people must work hard. When they inevitably fail, they see it less as a failure and more as a setback. They believe they can improve through time and effort. They value learning over the appearance of being smart and will persevere through difficult tasks.
Kids learn these mindsets from what they’re told growing up.
Effort Versus Ability
One study shows that when fifth graders were randomly divided into two groups, what is said to them during an IQ test had a direct correlation with how they performed. They were praised in two ways:
During the test, she presented a choice of an easier and harder task. What’s interesting is that when kids were praised for their effort, they oftentimes chose the challenging task, knowing they could learn more — they were likely to feel motivated to learn and retained their confidence as the problems got harder.
On the opposite side, children that were praised for their intelligence requested the easier task, knowing there was a higher chance of success, and when the problems got harder, they were likely to inflate test scores when recounting them.
Change the Way You Praise
The brain is like a muscle — you can always improve the mindset. The more you use your brain, the stronger it gets. Practice praising in a way that will help kids have a growth mindset. Say things like, “Almost” and “Try again” instead of “Here, let me do that for you.”
East Mesa Karate and Growth Mindset
Our instructors are trained to praise children that will facilitate a growth mindset. We appreciate every child’s efforts when doing karate. If you would like to learn more about the way our instructors teach, come by our school, call us at 480-986-7177, or contact us through our online form.
“I QUIT” - said every 13-year-old ever.
The first year in the teenage sequence can be challenging because of school work and navigating friendships. This new environment comes with major social and emotional changes, even brain changes.
They Can’t Help It: It’s Their Brain
The prefrontal cortex is a section of the brain that weighs outcomes, forms judgments and controls impulses and emotions while communicating with the other sections of the brain through connections.
Scientists found that in teens, the prefrontal cortex, that vital center of control of the brain, is a little immature compared to adults, and it may not fully develop until your mid-20s. This area of the brain is used for risk assessment, safety, and ultimately decision making. Because the prefrontal cortex is somewhat shut off during the teenage years, it can help explain some stereotypical teenage behavior.
As kids become teenagers, their priorities change, including how they decide to spend their time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that young teens tend to “focus on themselves… going back and forth between high expectations and lack of confidence.” If their friends are walking away from sports, they may be more inclined to.
Reward Positive Behavior
Studies show that when teens receive a medium or large reward, they exhibit exaggerated positive responses to medium and large rewards compared to children and adults.
Greg Silva, President of Black Belt Schools International, says he’s experienced with this behavior, after teaching thousands of children. Seventy percent of kids quit organized sports at 13. Generally, retention for young teens in karate is a lot higher, and this may have to do with the fact that there are medium to large rewards in the form of belt rank advancements. Additionally, many schools, like East Mesa Karate, offer Jr. Instructor Training for young teens, giving them the opportunity for a great job at 16.
But this is where martial arts students have an advantage, Silva says, because they are built inside and out. On the outside they gain skills, self defense, speed, strength, flexibility and great coordination. Inside is the big advantage. Learning to set and achieve goals, build confidence, self-esteem, ability to block out distractions, perseverance, courage, sportsmanship and commitment.
East Mesa Karate Can Help Your Teen
If you have a teen or pre-teen, learn more about our martial arts philosophies. Visit our school or call us today at 480-986-7177 for more information.
Sharpened pencils, apples, new backpacks, and a dichotomy of anticipation and shock.
That’s right, it’s time to go back to school, and we are preparing for the year.
Now’s the time to start new routines to get the year off on a great start. You can incorporate what you learn in the karate classroom to what you do in the school classroom, one glorious morning at a time.
A 3-month study performed in 20114 by Lakes and Hoyt states that martials arts can have a positive impact on self-regulatory abilities: Participants of taekwondo showed greater improvements than a control group in areas of cognitive and affective self-regulation, prosocial behavior, classroom conduct and performance on a mental math test.
We all expect our kids to experience peer pressure in high school, but kids of all ages can feel peer pressure.
Peer pressure is nothing new, and it’s still no easier to say “no” to friends when you want to. Some kids give into peer pressure because they:
Positive and Negative Peer Pressure
Peer pressure can take many forms, and it can be positive or negative.
Sometimes your kids can get influenced negatively from their peers through things like other kids suggesting your child cuts class or encouraging your child to be mean to another child during sports or school.
Positive peer pressure can come in the form of other students or friends helping your child learn their homework through mnemonic devices or encouraging them to join clubs or sports. Your child can also be the positive influence on their friends by encouraging others to read a book they got excited about or telling them about their favorite sport.
How to Handle Peer Pressure
As a kid, making decisions can be hard, and when friends get involved, it can be even harder. Some kids give into peer pressure to be liked or are afraid of getting made fun of. Others may go along because they are curious about what other kids are doing. Kids need to practice making smaller decisions so when bigger decisions come along, they’ll be able to handle it. As a parent, there are things you can do to help your child resist peer pressure. When it comes to negative peer pressure, tell your kids there are a few ways to handle it:
How to Be there for Your Kids During Peer Pressure
Have an Open-Door Policy
Let your child know they can come to you with any questions or concerns and that you won’t react harshly. Talk to your child about their day and tell them about yours. Listen when you need to, and offer encouragement or answer questions when your child needs it. If your child needs help solving a problem, ask them to come up with solutions and help them choose the best option.
In a neutral manner, talk to your child about the difference between positive and negative peer pressure.
GreatSchools.org suggests that when your child talks about what’s happening with their friends, stay as calm as you can. Avoid yelling, blaming, and lecturing. Use open-ended questions to get your child to think through the situation. Ask questions like, “I wonder if your friends realizes the consequences that can happen because of their choice?”
Stay Up-to-Date with Your Child’s Life
Know what your child likes by spending time with them. Get to know your child’s friends, and pay attention to where they’re going, what they’re doing, and when they’ll be home. Remind your child that if they ever feel like they are being pressured into something that’s unsafe, they can talk to an adult.
Make your home a safe place for your children to invite their friends to. Make it a place they want to bring their children home to. Offer meals or snacks to get time to sit down and chat with them. Take them places they want to go, and talk to them on the drive. This way, you can meet their friends and see the influence they have on your child.
Set Reasonable Rules
Maintain the same household rules for each child and let them know of the consequences of breaking them. Try not to be too rigid or unreasonable, and make sure the responsibilities are age-appropriate.
Encourage Healthy Hobbies and Activities
Teach your child about making health choices for smoking, alcohol, and drugs. If there is something questionable on TV or the media, talk to them about it, and let them know what the house rules are and what you think about it. Help them find books they can relate to where a character has to make difficult decisions in the face of adversity.
Let your child choose an extracurricular activity, club, team or workshop where they can increase self-esteem and gain positive friendships that can help them resist peer pressure.
American Kenpo in East Mesa Teaches How to Stand Up to Peer Pressure
Get your child involved in activities such as church, Scouts, or martial arts. Martial Arts are cool because they instill confidence and teach kids to fight and stand up for themselves. Grand Master Greg Silva of Black Belt Schools International says, "Sometimes saying ‘no’ isn't enough for bullies and peers. You must stand up for yourself even if you have to stand up alone. All kids should take at least 1 year of martial arts for confidence, fun and fitness."
If you want to learn more about what we do, please fill out our online form or call us at 480-986-7177 today.
Our karate school encourages kids to know how to make good decisions and stand up for what they believe in. You are invited to try a Beginner's Martial Arts Workshop, for self defense, fitness and fun. Call us to register for this week's FREE community workshop for kids!
Getting a child to exercise can seem like a daunting task, but we know there's a lot to gain from regular physical activity, so we continue to encourage it. What are the best ways to get your child to workout?
Choose an Age-Appropriate Activity
Choose the right activities for a child's age: If you don't, the child may be bored or frustrated. Your child may not want to do a traditional workout, so you may want to choose an activity over a workout. When kids enjoy an activity, they want to do more of it. Practicing a skill — whether it's swimming or riding a tricycle or martial arts — improves their abilities and helps them feel accomplished, especially when the effort is noticed and praised. These good feelings often make kids want to continue the activity and even try others.
Give the Opportunity to Be Active
Kids need parents to make activity easy by providing equipment and taking them to classes and other active spots. We encourage our students to show up to classes at least twice a week to get enough classes and time in to get a higher-rank belt, as well as feel comfortable with the skills they're learning. This also gives kids a great opportunity to be active for at least 30 minutes during that time.
Keep it Fun
Keeping the focus on fun: Kids won't do something they don't enjoy. Check in with your child, and make sure they're having fun. If they're not, find out why, and see if you can do something to help them want to get back to their activity. It may be something small that can be changed easily.
I have been involved with teaching martial arts to children for more than 40 years. Over those years I had the opportunity to teach thousands for kids and help other martial artists develop programs to inspire kids to train, develop positive beliefs, gain confidence and self esteem. I don't know of another sport or art that does these things as effective as martial arts. Classes are fun, kids get positive encouragement, learn to over come challenges, learn sportsmanship and goal setting. If you are looking for an activity with a purpose contact a martial arts school that specializes in kids classes. You and your child will be glad you did.
To learn more about the classes we offer at East Mesa Karate, call us at 480-986-7177 or fill out our online form.
Author of The Silva Solution: Building Black Belts from the Inside Out
President of Black Belt Schools International
No parent wants to think their child is being bullied, and the warning signs may be hard to spot. A lot of times, kids don’t come to us as parents or leaders and tell us when they’re being bullied. We want you to be aware of signs of bullying to be able to help your child when they need it.
Long-Term Effects of Bullying
The American Psychological Association found that being a victim of bullying can result in an increased suicide risk, depression, low self-esteem, and poor school performance. Knowing this, we need to help kids while they’re going through the hard times. We need to watch for warning signs of our kids being bullied.
Result of Bullying
Bullying can take several forms and may include:
Warning Signs of Bullying
Not all children who are bullied exhibit signs, but there are some red flags to watch out for. Every child is different and any child can have an “off” day, so look instead of a pattern of behavior that is not typical for your child. Signs of bullying can include:
Know When to Stand Down
Sometimes there are other reasons for these signs, so avoid jumping to conclusions. Think about what’s going on in your child’s life. Have there been changes at home like a new baby, or divorce or separation?
If not, and you do suspect bullying, talk to your child right away. Get involved with the school and talk to the teachers. Get your child the proper tools to help them build confidence through competence.
East Mesa Karate Can Help Increase Confidence
One of the things we want to do as a karate school is build caring, passionate leaders in the community. We also want to make sure our students feel confident when they’re in activities and at school. Check out our trial offer! Contact us for more information on how we can help your child!
Unfortunately, we hear all too often the stories of kids being bullied at school, online, and elsewhere. Bullying can give kids permanent emotional scars. Some kids can get through bullying, while others don’t get through it as easily. As parents, there are things we can do to help build resilience in kids to help them get through tough times.
1. Build Acceptance at Home
Feeling comfortable with who you are often starts with home. No matter how kids are different from you or kids at school, they need to feel accepted to be comfortable in their own skin.
2. Change the Narrative
Matt Langdon, a bullying expert, tells parents and teachers to help kids understand they’re the main character of their story, and bullying is only a part of it.
The hero’s journey, according to UC Berkeley, is a tale where a hero goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and comes home changed or transformed. You can use books such as “Harry Potter,” “Wizard of Oz,” “The Mists of Avalon,” or “Ender’s Game” to talk to your child about what happens on the hero’s journey.
Such books can help you tell kids that heroes learn, and rise, from their struggles. If books aren’t their thing, parents can watch a young adult romance adventure or superhero movie to learn from similar themes.
3. Get Your Child to Think of Solutions
This is a great way to get kids to start problem solving when they’re young. It will help them when they’re adults and can help them get through hard times. Talk to you child about what they can do, but let them offer solutions. Discuss the pros and cons of each option. Let them choose the best course. This will let your child know you believe in them and that they can trust their own decisions.
4. Turn Weaknesses into Strengths
Oftentimes, if kids can look at what a bully thinks is a weakness as a strength, the bully loses power. The “nerdy” kids grow up to be coders, inventors, engineers. Kids who dress differently may become the next best fashion designer. Teach them to be confident in themselves and that being different will always draw attention, especially in middle school.
One bully expert states that kids should list things they dislike about themselves, and then you can help them see the upside of each trait. Help them embrace who they are, and they’re likely to find a friend who can accept them for who they are. Have them practice using eye contact when talking and looking confident through eye contact and strong posture.
5. Find Activities and Like-Minded Friends
Building resilience can start with an activity that builds confidence, leadership, and give your child a much-needed sensory output. Kids can find friendship through activities.
Our karate school in East Mesa focuses on teaching kids to persevere, focus, discipline, control, and self confidence, among other things.
6. Think Before You Speak
Talk to you kids everyday, but don’t ask questions like, “Were the kids mean to you at school today?” Those types of yes or no questions box you into a corner where you may lose the opportunity to really talk to them if they say no. Keep questions open ended, and focus more on the positive side, instilling hope.
Find uplifting videos about kids who were bullied but who are now making a difference in the world.
Learn From Our American Kenpo Instructors in East Mesa
We can’t keep other kids from bullying your child, but we can help your child learn coping mechanisms, such as confidence, problem solving, and turning weaknesses into strengths. To learn more about our program, call us 480-986-7177 or fill out our online form.
Is my child a bully? Am I encouraging it?
You may have asked yourself these questions before, and the truth is sometimes your child may be the problem. You’re probably already in the right direction with avoiding violent video games, not being an overly permissive parent, and not being abusive, but sometimes even the most well-intentioned parents unintentionally raise their children as be a bully. Take action and raise kind and caring kids.
1. Avoid Insults
Surprisingly, bullying can begin as early as preschool. Parents say things to children like, “Why can’t you act your age?” “You’re no good.” or “Why can’t you be smarter like your brother?” Children see this behavior as acceptable and may become insensitive to the feelings of others or defiant toward those in authority positions.
Use positive reinforcement when you notice your child practicing good behavior. Saying something as simple as, “You found a really good way to do that!” or “I can tell you’ve been practicing” goes a long way.
2. When You’re Around, Be There
It’s easy to get distracted in a world full of distractions: social media, news, work, entertainment, and more. Neglect is when you ignore your child’s basic needs, and oftentimes with neglect, you’re more likely to respond to negative behavior as opposed to positive behavior. This could lead to a pattern of the children stirring up trouble to respond to negative behavior.
Make sure you’re available for your child when they need you, and always show them positive behavior. When your kids are leaving for school or elsewhere, make sure you tell them you love them and give them a hug and kis. It’s a great way to show a positive display of intimacy. Showing them you care is a model for your kids to show others they care.
3. Stop Saying “I Hate”
I think we’ve all got a little Negative Nancy in us. It’s so easy to see all of the negative things around us. There are many things in our lives that may not be going as we want them to, but they may be impacting your child more than you think. They hear you say these things, and it becomes their attitude of the world around them, making them feel powerless to the problems around them.
Save your negative talk for after they go to bed talk. And if you hear your child start to say negative things, try to re-start the conversation with questions like, “What good things happened to you today?” or “Is there another way to look at that?”
4. Don’t Overplan for Your Kids
Our kids want to try everything, and we want to give them everything, so we sign them up for after school activities including soccer, ballet, T-ball, and others. Sometimes that can stress kids out. Stress can lead to anxiety, aggression, and anger.
For children’s brains to develop, they need time to be creative and quiet. That unstructured time gives them time to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do.
5. Be Consistent With Rules
At the beginning of the day, we may be more willing to enforce boundaries for our children. When we’re inconsistent, it’s confusing to children, and they may see that as a way that they’re losing power. Sometimes bullying comes from the need to regain lost power.
Keep the rules the same for all children during all times of day, even when you’re tired.
Positive Structure through Martial Arts in East Mesa
You may not realize that you’re encouraging your child to be a bully through the things you do and say, but sometimes we’re part of the problem. Our karate school in East Mesa encourages kids to be positive through rules and no insults. Call 480-986-7177 today or sign up for our trial offer.
Does your child know how to handle a bully?
The recent media attention on the epidemic of youth bullying in the United States brings to public awareness what most parents and school professionals know and live on a daily basis: kids can be brutal. Celebrities and professionals have boldly weighed in, in front of the cameras, saying, "This has to end!" And they are right. The question is, how will we end it?
While school policies focus on zero-tolerance and criminal penalties are wielded for some of the most egregious bullies, others know what coaches have been saying for years: the best offense is a good defense.
Am I advocating revenge? Do I think the world is going to be changed by bullied kids uniting in retaliation against their tormenters? By no means! Rather, I take that old sports-ism to encourage parents to fortify their kids with specific skills that help young people stand-up for themselves and stop bullies in their tracks. In other words, I sadly don't hold out hope that the world is going to change for our kids. I optimistically do believe, however, that our kids can change their own world by developing a set of skills that makes bullying unrewarding.
Skill 1: Stay Connected
Bullies operate by making their victims feel alone and powerless. Children reclaim their power when they make and maintain connections with faithful friends and supportive adults.
Skill 2: Create Awareness
Sometimes kids feel like adults never do anything--so why even bother to tell them about incidence of bullying? While there are cases when adults fail to acknowledge the seriousness of a situation, it is more often the case that grown-ups are not aware of what is going on. Bullies use relational aggression to inflict their violence in subtle, socially acceptable ways that tend not to register on an adult's radar. Teach your child that it is her job to create awareness. Be clear in teaching kids that telling an adult about bullying is not a mark of cowardice, but rather a bold, powerful move.
Skill 3: Re-define Tattling
My daughter came to me yesterday, worried that if she told the bus driver about a boy who was spitting on her, then she would be labeled as a "tattletale." I told her that this is exactly what the bully wanted her to think! Isolation is a bully's method of intimidation. In fact, it is only by telling an adult that kids can begin to re-balance the power dynamic. When a bully realizes that he will not be able to keep a victim isolated, he immediately begins to lose power.
Skill 4: Act Quickly
The longer a bully has power over a victim, the stronger the hold becomes. Oftentimes, bullying begins in a relatively mild form--name calling, teasing, or minor physical aggression. After the bully has tested the waters and confirmed that a victim is not going to tell and adult and stand up for his rights, the aggression worsens. Teach your child that taking action against the bully--and taking it sooner rather than later--is the best way to gain and retain power.
Skill 5: Respond Assertively
The more a bully thinks he can pick on a victim without a response, the more he will do it. That's why an assertive response is so effective in countering bullying. Kids who master the skills of assertiveness are comfortable in the middle ground between aggressive comebacks that up the ante for the next go-round, and passive responses that invite further abuse.
Skill 6: Use Simple, Unemotional Language
Assertive kids use simple, unemotional, direct language to let bullies know that they do not intend to be victimized. Why should you teach your child to use responses that are "unemotional?" Indications that a person can be emotionally impacted signal a bully that he will be able to wield power easily. By encouraging your child to respond without angeror fear, you teach her how to portray confidence. The bully, in turn, detects less potential for wielding control.
Skill 7: Use Body Language to Reinforce Words
When coaching your child in the skills of assertive communication, it is helpful to practice using body language to reinforce words. Teach your child to employ these simple, non-verbal assertive strategies that indicate to a bully that your child means what she says:
How East Mesa Karate Can Help Your Child Stand Up to Bullying
We want all kids to be confident enough to stand up to bullies in a positive way. We teach children to learn how to handle bullying and increase leadership skills. To learn more about how we stop bullying, try our trial or contact us through our online form.
(Article author Signe Whitson - Sugne is a Certified School Social Work Specialist, national educator on Bullying Prevention, and author of six books, including The 8 Keys to End Bullying Activity Program, How to Be Angry: An Assertive Anger Expression Group Guide for Kids and Teens, and The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces)