You Go, Grasshopper
I mostly counsel adults but often they ask me about their kids.
Kids face a lot of stress growing up, especially at school. It's hard for most of us to relate to it because compared to adult responsibility it seems like kids have life easy. But sometimes, kids can feel lost and inadequate.
Just like adults, one of the major problems children and teens face is low self-esteem. The difference is that most of us have weathered a few storms and have a sense of how to handle adversity...in other words, we can tap into previous experiences. Kids don't always have this. They can turn inward and feel like everything is their fault. When other kids bully them they take those words to heart.
In the past, I've recommended martial arts practice as a great way to build self-esteem. Does it work for kids too? Certainly, every martial art studio advertises that it makes children more confident, but I think that's more than just marketing talk.
Even West Point recognizes the role that martial arts play in developing not just confidence as an athlete, but overall calmness, self-esteem and a better ability to overcome hardship. How does it work? In my previous entry, I outlined various reasons martial arts builds confidence, and all of those reasons definitely apply to kids as well. But for kids, there's something else at play.
Martial arts are a different experience from most other sports or activities. It gives your child direct face time with a positive role model. Most kids look up to their instructors. Younger children are impressed by any martial artist, and teens are challenged to try to match the same seemingly incredible feats their instructor can perform.
Unlike most authority figures your child encounters, their instructor is there to build them up. They get personal attention from someone they respect. Personal attention is always valuable to kids, and when it comes from a positive role model it has a huge impact. This type of physical training does have a positive impact on those kids being bullied, as a female boxer in Chicago describes in her program here.
Just remember: you got this. YOU GO GRASSHOPPER!
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