Martial arts, boxing, karate, and everything defensive in between is as necessary is courage, bravery, and respect
An understanding of self defense and respect is like a crucial conversation for a parent and their child. Society has the notion that they can will a mother how to raise their child. I don't think so. While I do not condone violence, I also don't condone my son acting in fear or being a coward at the sign of it. Yes, children should be the bigger person and walk away given the circumstance and environment, i.e. if someone is saying "your momma" jokes or calling him "ugly".
What happens when it turns physical though? What happens when it isn't a kid anymore? What happens when the initial encounter leads to continue harassment? We no longer live in an age when we can leave our house doors open or trust just anybody with our kids. There are times when I don't trust other kids around my own kid. With that being said, I think it is imperative for our children to understand the importance of standing firm.
YOU ARE STRONG, BRAVE, YOU DON'T DO WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY
I teach my son to follow the own beat of his drum, ignore mean words because they are just words, and tell the teacher if he feels a problem may be escalating. I also teach him to stand firm in who he is, help people who can't help themselves, and stand up for what he believes in. It is important to instill such values in our children and educate them in the importance of what it means to them. So yes, in some cases he will have to stand up to a bully, he will not be moved, and he will not be disrespected.
Fostering that resilience in a child is necessary, it gives them the will to get back up and continue proceeding forward even when they are knocked down. What message are we sending if we teach are children to run from everything, to be passive aggressive in every case, to "avoid" every problem they may encounter. How will they be prepared to deal with real problems when you are no longer there? How will they stand firm when their world is caving? We would be in essence encouraging our children to live continually in their own fears and the actions of others. We have to be constantly feeding a direct message to our children. There isn't a lesson plan to teaching your child this. It's as simple as talking with them through every situation, making them question everything. Giving them examples of when they should speak up to someone, defend themselves, or be courageous enough to walk away. Self defense is not necessarily a physical altercation it can be conscious choices, the way our child thinks, and it's up to the parent to steer them in the right direction. CLICK HERE for a few self defense strategies that encourage children to think.
Preparing them to defend themselves
Mental self defense is important but having the ability to defend one self physically is vital as well. I'm just now rapping my head around this concept for my own son. Put them in a sport or activity that teaches them to fight and discipline their ability to do so. Our children need to be prepared for any situation, including one when there may be someone bigger than them involved. Put them in a sport where they can have fun but learn how to kick ass too. I recently learned about C.O.B.R.A a self defense program that teaches some of everything to kids and adults, CLICK HERE to learn more about it and find a location that is near you.