Want to stop bullying for your child?
...here's how taekwondo can help
How can we stop bullying happening to our children?
Bully awareness schemes are fantastic.
They highlight the problem of bullying and provide safe places for victims to turn to.
But schemes can't stop every bully.
And the chances are that every child will face a bully at some stage of her life.
So we decided as parents to try give Leah some means of dealing with bullies.
And we hope she stands a better chance of avoiding the misery bullying causes.
So how does taekwondo training help stop bullying?
The obvious answer most people think of. Is that a martial art gives kids a way of hitting back. Or kicking back.
And that is true. Taekwondo kids do learn to kick and punch.
But that's only a small part of the picture.
We see good taekwondo training go much deeper.
Firstly there's the increase in self-confidence that comes with taekwondo training.
Bullies tend to pick on quiet, weak and scared kids. Or alternatively bullies choose kids that are arrogant and cocky.
We see the kids in our taekwondo club become quietly confident young people. They feel self assured inside. And they don't need to shout about it.
And this affects the way they hold themselves. The way they walk. And the way they talk.
And bullies tend to stay away from children like this.
Kids in taekwondo also learn specific ways to avoid confrontation.
They learn about courtesy and respect for others.
And they learn to think about whether or not a particular game or situation is a safe one.
And should they find themselves being bullied. Taekwondo kids are taught good ways to deal with that.
For example in the case of verbal abuse. Kids in our taekwondo club learn about distance and body language. They learn not to back off. But equally not to move forwards and antagonise the bully.
Taekwondo kids learn how to stay calm and think under pressure. They learn to keep eye contact. And they explore ways to diffuse the situation without losing face and appearing weak.
In short they learn how to stop bullying for themselves.
It's much the same with a physical attack.
Part of taekwondo training is full contact sparring. This is an attack but it is under safe, controlled conditions.
Through taekwondo sparring kids learn how not to freeze. They learn how to cope with physical attack. And how to think under pressure.
This means they can fight back in a controlled way if they ever need to.
And they learn about respect. And how to do the minimum possible to get out of an unsafe situation.
So we think that training in taekwondo is a good way to help stop bullying for your child.
Because it gives them the tools they need to start to take responsibility for themselves.