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.