Whenever Jessie hung out with her best friends Chloe and Meg, they gossiped about another seventh-grader named Kate. Jessie didn’t know Kate, but Chloe and Meg said she was clingy, told boring stories and smelled like acne wash.
When Jessie asked questions about this mystery girl, her friends giggled and exchanged knowing glances. This went on for weeks until a boy in her class told Jessie the truth: Kate was their code name for her.
Jessie looked to other friends for support, but they started dropping away. Chloe and Meg had all the social capital, and no one wanted to risk alienating them. Jessie cried every night. Her mother, my neighbor Naomi, called me for advice. “You’re a school counselor,” she said. “What should I do? She’s in so much pain.”
Naomi’s own experience with bullying intensified her anguish. In eighth grade, kids forged her signature on love letters and left them in a popular athlete’s locker. They tugged on her arm hair and called her “monkey.” Naomi suffered from depression after she was mistreated, and she wanted Jessie to have a better outcome.
Bullying strips kids of their dignity and leaves scars. Some children bounce back, while others struggle to rebound. There is no one-size-fits-all intervention, but here are nine ways parents can build a child’s resilience.
Change the narrative
Help kids understand that they are the main character of their story and that bullying is just one small part of it. Matt Langdon, a bullying expert and president of the Hero Construction Company, urges adults to use the hero’s journey model to put things in perspective.
“The hero starts knowing the rules of the place, is taken to a different world with new rules, then goes on a journey and changes,” he says.
He recommends using books such as the “Harry Potter” series to underscore that heroes learn, and emerge, from their struggles. Parents also can watch the latest superhero movie or young adult romance adventure with their kids and note any parallels or lessons.
“There’s a lot of focus on toughening up bullying targets, and it’s just so wrongheaded,” Langdon says.
Reframe weaknesses as hidden strengths
“I was bullied for so many things,” says Dave Rendall, author of “The Freak Factor.” “I was grotesquely skinny and called Twiggy after the model. No 13-year-old boy wants to have his body compared to that. But that’s why I can do Ironman triathlons. I was also told I talk too much, and I became a speaker.”
To disarm bullies, Rendall says, convince kids that their so-called weaknesses are strengths. “At what point does that nerdy kid become an inventor? When does the kid who dresses weird get praised because he’s a fashion designer?”
Parents can explain that being different will always draw attention, especially in middle school. Rendall suggests having kids list the things they dislike about themselves, then talk about the upside of each trait. And remind kids that when they stop trying to be something they’re not, they’re likely to attract a different kind of friend.
Parents also can foster resilience by modeling nonconformity, says parenting expert Annie Fox, author of the “Middle School Confidential” series, and by telling kids that “different doesn’t mean broken.”
Targets of bullying can also benefit from helping others in a similar position, says Michele Borba, author of “UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.” Kids who have suffered often have higher levels of empathy.
She recalls a teen who emigrated from Haiti a few years ago. “No one would eat with him,” Borba says. “After he made the football team and gained acceptance, he mobilized other kids, including his entire football team, to sit with students who were eating alone.”
[Five ways to help your child survive the social turmoil of middle school]
Similarly, 16-year-old Natalie Hampton created the “Sit With Us” app to help kids find people to eat lunch with. After being ostracized the year before, she wanted to help others in the same situation.
“When kids find a way to make a difference, their confidence goes up,” Borba says.
Pick a mantra or song
Ruminating on pain can magnify it. “Eventually, you start agreeing with the kids who say you’re useless,” says Rosalind Wiseman, author of “Owning Up” and co-founder of Cultures of Dignity. She suggests mantras and music to help kids combat such intrusive thoughts.
“It’s powerful,” she says. “When something bad is happening, that mantra or song can pop into their head. I say, ‘Try it until it’s a habit.’ ” The mantra can be any statement that affirms their right to exist in the world, such as “I deserve better,” but Wiseman tells parents to let kids choose it to give them a sense of ownership.
Create their own King Arthur’s Round Table
To combat isolation, Langdon says, children can create a group of real and pretend advisers, akin to King Arthur’s Round Table.
“People can play the role of sidekick, mentor or cheerleader,” he says. He encourages children to include fictional, famous and historical figures, along with friends and family. “They can choose people they clearly identify with, whether it’s Harry Potter, Martin Luther King Jr. or Harriet Tubman.”
Children can then mentally consult their advisory board about how to handle difficult situations.
Encourage a like-minded social network
Parents can steer kids toward activities where they’re likely to make friends, whether it’s a youth group, robotics club or volleyball team.
“Seek out sports where the kid has the highest chance of success, or art classes, or debate club,” Rendall says. “Look for that match, and talk to your kid about what he likes, what he’s good at and when he’s happiest.”
To build resilience, Borba says, “kids desperately need one true, loyal buddy,” so they see that they have what it takes to be a desired friend.
Choose your words carefully
Children need to feel that the adults in their life believe them and believe in them. Acknowledge that they have been wounded, but Wiseman cautions against interviewing for pain. “Don’t start off asking, ‘Were the kids mean to you at school today?’ If they say yes, they have to deal with your emotional response, but if they say no, they may have lost their opportunity to talk.”
Instead of focusing on the negative, instill hope. Borba suggests reading stories or watching uplifting videos about bullied children who are making a difference in the world. “Kids are comforted when they realize it isn’t just them,” she says.
Parents also can point out kids’ strengths and help them hone social skills. Brainstorm comeback lines, help them reflect on their actions and demonstrate how to use humor strategically. Show kids how to use eye contact, strong posture and firm language to establish boundaries.
Look for problematic patterns and people
Adults can help kids identify areas of vulnerability. “It could be a class with a teacher who doesn’t have control,” Wiseman says. Children may need to avoid certain hot spots, such as the back of the bus or the blacktop.
Sometimes, friends are doing the bullying, which can be especially hurtful. Parents need to allow their children time to realize that they’re sacrificing themselves, and initiate conversations about what constitutes a good friend.
Know when to shift gears
When there are safety concerns or a child is spiraling downward, parents may need to consider moving them to a new setting or seeking therapy.
“A girl from Texas wrote me a few years ago,” Fox says. “During swim class, someone stole her bra from her locker. She’s large-breasted and had to go to her next class without it.” Kids videotaped her walking through the halls, and she was humiliated. Her father set up a meeting with the school, his daughter and the parents of the girls who stole the bra.
When the girl shared how terrible it felt to be shamed, the other mothers laughed. “The principal said, ‘We can’t ensure your daughter’s safety,’ and he blew it off.” The girl switched to another school, where she thrived. Fox notes, “Adults need to show they’ve got your back.”
Borba underscores this point. “Your child needs to feel safe and cared about so he can be who he is and do what he’s supposed to do, which is learn.” If it gets too bad, she adds, parents must advocate for their child. “Don’t ever promise your kid you won’t tell.”
That said, Wiseman urges parents to give schools time so they don’t discipline the wrong child and reinforce the power of the perpetrator. “Parents tend to move really fast,” she says. “But if you’re in a self-righteous temper tantrum kind of place, the only thing that’s going to happen is you’re going to make the situation worse.”
Naomi enrolled Jessie in a creative-writing class, where she made friends. For one assignment, she wrote about a tormented heroine who dusts herself off and helps other hurting kids. In both her real and imaginary worlds, Jessie changed her narrative. She began to understand that bullying was just one chapter of her story, a lesson that resonated for Naomi, too.
By Phyllis L. Fagell June 20
Phyllis L. Fagell is the school counselor at Sheridan School in the District and a therapist at the Chrysalis Group in Bethesda. She tweets @Pfagell and blogs at phyllisfagell.com.
Admit it. You’ve watched and wondered: Is my kid a bully?
Not all the time. Not most of the time. But some of the time. The rough-handed grab, pushy attitude, resentful looks. Is it a bad day, a phase, or something more? Maybe no one has told you to your face you’re raising a bully, but sometimes you can’t help but wonder if other parents are talking about it behind your back.
So how do you make sure you’re raising a kind child, and not a bully?
You’ve heard all the usual talk about what causes bullying – overly permissive parenting, violent video games, abuse. What might surprise you is how even the most well-intentioned parents – parents just like you – are unknowingly sabotaging their efforts to raise kind, caring kids.
Bullying starts and ends with an imbalance of power. Too much or too little, the results are often the same: bullying behavior is simply a means to gain more power.
Here are eight ways you may be unknowingly encouraging bullying.
Want to raise a mean girl? Act like one. If you wouldn’t include your child in a conversation, you shouldn’t have it within earshot of them. Kids hear everything. The first time my daughter got hold of my phone to mimic me was truly eye-opening. My little cutie-pie morphed into a gossip girl. Eyes wide, hands waving, hips sashaying, screeching, “Wow! No! Hahaha!” She wasn’t even 2 years old yet. It was sobering to see myself through her young eyes. Catty comments are no better than outright bullying. It’s indirect bullying, and many of us do it all the time. At some point in your life, someone probably decided you weren’t “cool,” and you didn’t get a say in the matter. Didn’t feel so good, did it? Remember that feeling. Then do your best to shut off your inner gossip, especially in front of your kids.
2. Being too busy to show you care
You love your family. But relationships have their ups and downs, with the direction often being down after children enter the picture. When was the last time you told your partner or family members that you loved them? In front of your kids? Not, “I love you, but…,” but just, “I love you.” Positive displays of intimacy in the home are the basis for our kids’ relationships. You’re busy, but a simple hug and kiss for each family member on the way out the door in the morning is a great start toward teaching healthy intimacy. Show them you care, so they can show others they care.
3. The “I hate mys”
You hate your job. Those last few pounds you struggle to lose, or dealing with that messy house, or frizzy hair – your attitude reflects how you view the world. And when we act like we can’t change the outcome, we act helpless. How you feel about life has a long-lasting impact on your kids. They hear their hero (you) act helpless and that will make them feel powerless too. If your kids feel powerless, they may act to reclaim that lost power through bullying behavior. Save the negative talk for after the kids go to bed (or better yet, channel your frustration into a hobby you love). Let your kids be kids.
4. Mini-me syndrome
Kids today are ever more mature at an ever younger age. Current culture encourages us to treat our kids like mini-adults. But we forget that we are adults (trying to be, anyway), and most of us took decades to be able to even partially manage all this stress. Fully disclosing financial burdens, family illnesses, and work issues all the time just adds additional layers to our kids’ stress.
And an outlet for stress? Bullying.
5. Over-scheduling your kids’ activities
We are scared our kids will be at a disadvantage if they don’t participate in everything. So we rush to register them for ballet, karate, soccer, and so much more. But the only thing they miss out on if they have a slower schedule is anxiety and depression. If your child has a passion, by all means allow them the opportunity to explore it in more depth. But kids need unstructured free time. Play time, creative time, quiet time. The damaging effects of full schedules are well documented. Over-scheduling quickly leads to stressed kids. Stress leads to anxiety, anger, and aggression, which paves the way for bullying behavior.
6. Inconsistent rule enforcement
The last thing I want to do after a long day of pickups, drop-offs, work, and errands is deal with rule breakers, time-outs, and temper tantrums. So we choose to enforce as few rules as possible. But we enforce those few rules all the time. Inside those boundaries lies freedom. Lay the ground rules, enforce them, and give your kids permission to be themselves within those boundaries. They’ll feel a healthy sense of power and independence, and they won’t feel the need to bully in an effort to regain lost power.
7. The triple-play: wincing, waiting, watching
Bullying happens at every age. Every time you watch someone or something happen that you could help prevent with word or action, you are a peer to bullying. You are allowing it to continue through inaction. I understand the appeal of the squirrel launching rocket videos on YouTube. Really, I do. But the more you watch, the less you care. Turn it off. The long-term effects of desensitization are very real. Watch and laugh if you must, but remember your child is learning how to react to life through your actions. Make what you do count.
8. Forcing your kids to share
Sharing is a learned skill that takes time, maturity, and encouragement to develop fully. Ripping a toy out of your kid’s hand to give it to another kid? Bad idea. Talk about sharing, encourage sharing, but most importantly – teach sharing. Offer to loan your child something he’s been wanting to explore. Offer a bite of your dessert. Offer to help with a difficult chore. Forced sharing only results in a feeling of powerlessness. (Taking turns is something different. Don’t confuse the two.) Don’t make your child search for ways to regain their power.
Because who’s the most powerful kid in class? The bully.
As parents, we want our kids to grow up happy and successful. But putting happiness and success before caring is raising a generation of bullies. A recent Harvard study discovered that our kids are on to us. The majority of 10,000 kids surveyed believed that achievement and success were their parents’ main priorities, rather than caring for others. We need to change that. You know your child’s true personality. Deep down, you know if they’re a bully or testing boundaries. Be the person your kid wants you to be, so your kid can be the person you want them to be.
By Ashley Trexler March 10, 2015
Ashley Trexler is dedicated to debunking parenting myths and helping parents raise kind, caring kids. She can found at LiesAboutParenting.com.
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
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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:
• Maintain eye contact
• Keep your voice calm and even
• Stand an appropriate distance from the bully
• Use the bully's name when speaking to him
Teach your child that emotional non-verbals, such as looking away, raising her voice, or shrinking back are all dead giveaways that the bully has gotten to her.
(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)
Dehydration and Heat Illness
With the hot days of summer come summer sports -- baseball, tennis, football practice -- both in the neighborhood and at camp. Before you send the kids out to practice -- or just for a long day of play in the sun -- learn to protect your child against the dangers of dehydration and heat illness. WebMD turned to Albert C. Hergenroeder, professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of the sports medicine clinic at Texas Children's Hospital, for answers to parents' common questions.
1. What puts my child at risk for dehydration?
The same things that put you at risk for dehydration: prolonged exposure to high temperatures, direct sun, and high humidity, without sufficient rest and fluids. The difference is that a child's body surface area makes up a much greater proportion of his overall weight than an adult's, which means children face a much greater risk of dehydration and heat-related illness
2. What signs of dehydration should we watch for?
Early signs of dehydration include fatigue, thirst, dry lips and tongue, lack of energy, and feeling overheated. But if kids wait to drink until they feel thirsty, they're already dehydrated. Thirst doesn't really kick in until a child has lost 2% of his or her body weight as sweat.
3. What can I do to prevent dehydration in my child?
Make sure they drink cool water early and often. Send your child out to practice or play fully hydrated. Then, during play, make sure your child takes regular breaks to drink fluid, even if your child isn't thirsty. A good size drink for a child, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is 5 ounces of cold tap water for a child weighing 88 pounds, and nine ounces for a teen weighing 132 pounds. One ounce is about two kid-size gulps.
Know that dehydration is cumulative. If your child is 1% or 2% dehydrated on Monday and doesn't drink enough fluids that night, then gets 1% or 2% dehydrated again on Tuesday, that means your child is 3% or 4% dehydrated at the end of the day. "They may be gradually developing a problem, but it won't show up for several days," says Hergenroeder. "You should always monitor your child's hydration." One way to do this: weigh your child before and after practice. If his weight drops, he's not drinking enough during his workout.
A simple rule of thumb: if your child's urine is dark in color, rather than clear or light yellow, he or she may be becoming dehydrated.
4. If my child develops heat illness, what can I do to treat it?
The first thing you should do with any heat illness is get the child out of the sun into a cool, comfortable place. Have the child start drinking plenty of cool fluids. The child should also take off any excess layers of clothing or bulky equipment. You can put cool, wet cloths on overheated skin. In cases of heat cramps, gentle stretches to the affected muscle should relieve the pain.
5. Is it ever too hot for my child to practice or play sports?
A growing number of athletic programs suggest that it is sometimes too hot to practice. In fact, many are restricting outdoor practice when the National Weather Service's heat index rises above a certain temperature. The heat index, measured in degrees Fahrenheit, is an accurate measure of how hot it really feels when the relative humidity is added to the actual temperature.
You may consider martial arts in an air-conditioned center during the hot days of summer. Contact us for a free beginners workshop.
1. Aerobic Activity
Aerobic activity should make up most of your child's 60 or more minutes of physical activity each day. This can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running. Be sure to include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least 3 days per week.
2. Muscle Strengthening
Include muscle strengthening activities, such as martial arts moves or push-ups, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes.
3. Bone Strengthening
Include bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope, kicking, punching or running, at least 3 days per week as part of your child's 60 or more minutes.
On a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is a 0 and the highest level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. When your child does moderate-intensity activity, their heart will beat faster than normal and he will breathe harder than normal. Vigorous-intensity activity is a level 7 or 8. When your child does vigorous-intensity activity, their heart will beat much faster than normal and they will breathe much harder than normal.
Another way to judge intensity is to think about the activity your child is doing and compare it to the average child. What amount of intensity would the average child use? For example, when your daughter walks to school with friends each morning, she's probably doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But while she is at school, when she runs, or chases others by playing tag during recess, she's probably doing vigorous-intensity activity.
Martial Arts can help your child maintain these healthy requirements while having fun and learning important self protection techniques. We are offing a FREE Community Martial Arts Workshop for kids 7 - 12. Please call or register online. Families and friends are welcome!
You’re walking home on an otherwise nice brisk evening with your family or loved one when, out of nowhere, you are surrounded by aggressive and intimidating people that want to harm you. They may just yell and/or push at first. They may grab you, or swing or threaten you with a gun or a knife. What would you do? Would you know what to do to protect yourself and your family? How would you feel? How would you react?
Any of these scenarios are scary at best and deadly at worst. Over 1500 people die from injuries involving knife attacks each year; 5 times as many as those killed by rifles. Statistics aside, the brutal reality is that knives are prevalent and dangerous, knife wounds are nasty and becoming a victim is totally preventable. It is wise to train to defend against threats and attacks with knives, and the best time to think about this is not when the attack is imminent and real. I highly recommend that every reader get some training. For the purposes of this article, I will address 5 hacks that could save your life in a knife attack scenario.
1.Understand the Threat.
Knives are a real threat! They are common, easy to carry and conceal, and can inflict severe wounds and damage, up to and including death. I really don’t think that most people understand how nasty slashes and stabs of the knife upon human flesh can be. This is a mistake. Awareness of the seriousness of the threat is an important step in preparing to deal with it. Awareness can also help you to pay attention, noticing who around is carrying a knife well before any threat exists.
On the other hand, it’s very important to know that it’s very possible to survive an attack if you know how to. In the best case, of course, you have trained in advance. The time to condition to react correctly is when the threat isn’t real; I often remind my students that, “it’s a good thing to get stabbed with a rubber knife all day long”. What can be a painful or deadly mistake in real life is, in training, only feedback.
With or without training, it is important to understand that fighting back aggressively will more likely improve your situation. We know from the defensive wounds of attack crime reports that the victim will not often be killed by the first, second or even first several attacks. Most attackers are not trained knife fighters, but rather an angry person attacking viciously with an overhand (icepick) stab, underhand upward vertical strike, stabbing or slashing, and probably repeatedly, but probably with more aggressiveness than accuracy. It is for this reason that actively defending is so important, and this leads us to knife hack number two.
As I alluded to in number one, the victim that tries to defend without fighting back is the most likely to be killed by a knife attack. Of course, if the scum bag threatening you with a knife just wants your money, you should give him your money because, as I have also already suggested, a knife fight situation is not something that you really want to get into. The variables are many and the stakes are high; so, if he wants something that you can easily replace, the right play is to give it.
My teacher once told me, though, that when you are dealing with a terrorist, you should consider yourself already dead, and that any move that you make to improve your situation improves your situation. While I am certainly not saying that every knife attacker is a terrorist, I am saying that not everyone with a knife will leave you alone just because you give them what they want. You will have to make the call of which one you are dealing with and act accordingly.
This decision only applies to a knife threat, of course. Once the knife is in motion towards you, your decision time has been ended. This is the time when, as I say, you must deal aggressively with the problem. In my system, Krav Maga, we will use a block and a simultaneous counterattack. While the block will hopefully stop the first attack and, if not the first then the second; the aggressive counterattacks address the problem. The problem isn't the knife but rather is the attacker wielding the knife, and that problem must be dealt with aggressively.
3.Control The Weapon
As soon as we block and counterattack, we should also attempt to control the weapon. The exception to this rule would be wherein we counterattack strongly enough that we make enough distance to completely disengage and get away so quickly that we don't have to, which is even better. In close proximity to the attacker, however, by necessity or because we can’t move quickly enough, we must control the weapon hand as soon as possible, stopping its ability to continue cycling the attack. We need to control long enough and well enough to affect knife hack number four.
4.Disengage or Neutralize
As stated in number 3, making distance and getting away from the attacker and attack is the best case of all. The disengagement can happen directly after the initial defense and counterattack, if you made sufficient distance to escape and are fast enough to do so; or it could be after you entered and controlled the weapon, have already struck multiple times in the correct areas to slow down the attacker and then you disengage and exit the area while scanning for more attackers. Still other times, the situation may dictate that you can’t leave the scene; perhaps a small child or elderly parent keeps you from the ability to flee quickly. In this case, one must be able to neutralize the threat to ensure that he’ll be able to get his family home safely.
At the risk of being redundant, the very best thing that you can do to survive a violent knife attack is to start preparing for that scenario today. Be aware, of your own abilities and limitations, and also of your surroundings, including where you are, with whom and who else is in the area. Practice doing this always. At first it will feel funny, or even awkward; but like all new skills, awareness will become natural when practiced over time. If you can, get some training from an experienced instructor trained in a reality based martial art including knife defense. If you already train, practice seriously. I believe every Krav Maga student should have their own training knife and training gun. The combination of proper instruction on how to best defend yourself, with significant repetition and practice under stress, is the very best way to prepare today to defend tomorrow.
I hope that nobody reading this ever has to defend themselves against a knife attack. In the best case, should you decide to take my advice and get some training, all the preparation will be only insurance. In a great school, the training will come with some bonuses including fun, fitness, friends and family, as well as the confidence to walk in peace. I pray every day that none of my students ever has to use the self-defense that I teach them because, by definition, somethings gone really bad and someone’s going to get really hurt. The only thing worse than having to defend, though, would be to have to and not be prepared for it. This is why we pray for the best, but train for the worst today.
Stephen Del Castillo
Grand Master Del Castillo (Shihan Steve) is the Founder and Master Instructor of Krav Maga Martial Arts. He has over 35 years of martial arts experience with the last 15 specifically in the Israeli Self Protection system known as Krav Maga. He is a 7th Degree Blackbelt and Master Instructor with Blackbelt Schools International, an MBA, and the Chief Instructor of KMMA USA, with affiliate instructors and schools around the country. For more info on Shihan Steve, his schools or affiliate program, go to www.kmmausa.com. For any questions or comments about this blog or his programs, you may also email Shihan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Working moms struggle with a lack of time more than most people do. From getting the kids ready for daycare or school to making sure they are safe and sound, every waking hour seems to be given to your children. It’s for good reason: they are your pride and joy.
You also have a house to maintain: laundry to be done, bathrooms to be cleaned, a kitchen to be maintained, a husband to tend to — everyone and everything demands your attention. It seems that you’re the only one that can maintain calm and order amongst the chaos.
What’s more is that you have a full-time job. No matter what your income stream looks like, it demands your time and attention. From taking care of your boss’s calendar to keeping order in the office, meeting deadlines, and organizing meetings, you are the heartbeat of your organization.
So, how do you get it all done? Well, most working moms don’t all the time. Sometimes, the house stays dirty. Sometimes, the laundry piles up so high it looks like a miniature version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And sometimes, just sometimes, the chaos at work is too much.
Eventually, you start to play catchup with everything that’s befallen you. You might squeeze in an exercise session or two, but when those chaotic days come, you feel like quitting altogether.
Trust me, I get it. Overwhelm can set in and crush your spirit. You can only keep calm and order in your life for so long. And even as you struggle day by day, the temptation to give up your fitness dreams grows and grows.
And yet, some working moms seem to make a huge splash. They make time for exercise. They make time to prep nutritious meals. They make time to clean the house. They make time to do the laundry. They make time for their family. They have more energy. They lose the extra weight. They get fit.
How do these moms get it done? In one word: structure.
These working moms create a structure that puts them in full control of their weight loss goals.
Here’s how you can regain control of your schedule and turn things around.
1. You Must Prioritize Exercise
Ask yourself this question: Is exercise a top priority in my life?
You might think it is because fitness is on your mind daily, but here’s a little secret: a should is totally different than a must. When something is not a priority, you will always make excuses not to do it.
Why should fitness be a priority? Because if you can’t take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of your family?
Every day, we’re constantly bombarded with new-and-improved research that shows the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise. More energy. Less stress. A body geared for fighting off viruses. Now, don’t get me wrong, you’ll still have a sick day here and there, but not as often as you would if you weren’t active or eating healthy.
2. Specify The Reasons That Prompted Your Desire To Change
Here’s the thing about fitness: it will only work if you have the right mindset. You can have all the resources at your disposal, but without a compelling reason to exercise, you are likely to quit.
I’m not talking about having motivation or trying to pump yourself up on days you decide to work out. Motivation will only take you so far. Your reason is what will prevent you from veering off track or quitting altogether.
Your why will always keep you going.
Your why will help you develop discipline. You’ll be able to find the strength to exercise and eat healthy during times when it’s hard to do so.
An effective strategy is to keep a journal where you write your reasons for working out. Remember, your reasons are, well, your reasons. Don’t ever think that your reasons aren’t good enough. As a mother, you are a prime example for your family. Think about the impact on your husband and children when they see the dedication and drive you show for changing yourself.
3. Think Family Fitness
Involve your children in your fitness routine. Why? Because it’s tough to find a babysitter to watch the kids for an hour or so, and just because you can’t find care for your children doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise. There are tons of ways you can include the kids in your fitness routine.
Some moms like to play games with their kids. They’ll race each other or play a game of tag. Invest in a children’s seat for your bike, or if your children are age-appropriate, buy them a bike of their own so they can join you on a bike ride.
Plus, there’s a new wave of what moms are calling “stroller fitness.” A lot of moms are walking or jogging with their kids in their strollers.
Don’t let your babies be an excuse for not exercising. Not only will you be active, but you can even form a strong bond with your kids just by having them around while you work out.
4. Know That Some Days Are Going To Be Easier Than Others
There are going to be days when you’re full of energy and feel like you can do extra. And then there are going to be days where you’re just happy to have put your workout clothes on. No matter what you feel on the difficult days, make sure that you at least try to get some activity in.
You might not be able to get in that full mile or strength train for 30 minutes. That’s fine. Each day is going to present its own unique obstacles. You might be fatigued. The kids might get sick. You might have to put in extra hours at work. Whatever the case, don’t give it the momentum that will make you give up.
Just keep going.
5. Don’t Go At It Alone
Try to find a community that will support you. Fitness and nutrition are more difficult if you have no one to fall back on. The important thing for this tip is to find a community that will 100% have your back. It could be your husband, a close friend, an online community, or another working mom. You can even seek the services of a life coach or fitness trainer.
It’s important that your community understands your goals and desire for working out. Why? Because they are the ones that are going to keep you accountable. You will not achieve your fitness goals if you have a community that accepts every excuse you make. This is why I believe that the services of a life coach are a beneficial investment.
You want someone that will give you the kick in the pants you need to keep going. At the same time, you want someone that will be motivating and uplifting instead of critical and doubtful.
Create your community and you’ll increase your chances of making fitness a habit.
You Can Do This!
Moms, we need you! Not just to be alive, but to be involved and active in our lives. Your husband needs you. Your babies need you. Hell, the entire world needs you.
What would life be like without moms? What would life be like for your children without the warm and caring love of their mom? What would life be like for your husband without your intimate love and support for him and the family?
It is true that if you follow these tips, you will lose weight. But most importantly, if you follow these tips, you will create a mind and body that will give you the energy and strength you need to guide your family through the beautiful journey that is life.
So, when does your fitness routine start?
Many ladies choose martial arts for fitness. Both traditional martial arts and fitness martial arts provide the flexibility, cardio and strength training needed for a lean, thin athletic look. The structure, group support and positive coaching is just what you need to stay active and motivated.
With the right instructor, kids 4 years old and up flourish in self-defense and martial arts training
1. Improves physical fitness and coordination
2. Teaches concentration, discipline and respect
3. Develops confidence
In a self-defense program, children are constantly learning new skills, and each one is a little more challenging than the one before. Not everything is easy and developing these skills can take practice. But developing new skills leads to confidence and pride in one’s abilities. A good instructor is also praising children for their effort and good work which builds confidence.
4. Develops assertiveness, tenacity and determination
Mastering new skills, such as physical abilities and self-defense techniques, requires assertiveness, tenacity and determination. Kids need to be prepared to give it a go, keep trying, work through failure, try harder, see others succeed, make small improvements, until they experience success.
5. Develops communication, listening and social skills
Listening and following instructions are fundamental aspects of a self-defense program, and a good self-defense program is going to place a lot of emphasis on teaching children to ‘speak up for themselves’.
6. Teaches nutrition, anatomy and hygiene
In a physical program that encourages movement, it is easy to reinforce why we need to eat well to give our bodies fuel for playing. And a good self-defense program is also an opportunity to teach anatomy (left, right, body parts etc.) and hygiene (cut your fingernails, wash your hands etc.).
7. Teaches spatial concepts
(Spatial awareness means an understanding of the child compared to their surroundings, such as up, down, forward, backward, in, out, stop, go etc.)
8. Teaches awareness of danger
Children learn to use their eyes and their ears to be aware of their situation, for instance, aware of the road and cars, or keeping close to mom and daddy. This is the most important aspect of self-defense for kids. If they are aware of themselves and aware of things that could mean danger, they have the best chance of staying safe.
9. Teaches gentle solutions to bullying and rough play
Sometimes an ‘attack’ is rough play, like siblings wrestling or getting too rowdy; and sometimes an attack is bullying or fighting which can really hurt. Either way, when we’re talking about kids at home, school or in the playground, the last thing we want is any child getting hurt. So, a good self-defense program teaches gentle solutions for when the child is being ‘attacked’ by another child. A good program emphasizes using voice and non-violent ways to protect their personal space
10. Helps kids to stay safe and avoid accidents
And finally, a good self-defense program will be holistic. After all, there is not much point teaching a child self-defense if they don’t know to stay off the road. Through self-defense, we can develop a child’s awareness across a broad range of safety topics, including road safety, water safety, sun safety, electricity, burns, etc. and of course, stranger danger and concepts of personal body protection (e.g. from my top to my toes, I say what goes).
That’s 10 amazing benefits your children will get out of learning self-defense. Click the button on the top of this page and sign up for our trial offer today!
A recent and growing trend that has provided many benefits for children on the autism spectrum involves their engagement in karate and other martial arts.
A 2010 research project conducted by the University of Wisconsin physical therapy department confirmed what parents were already reporting - in the course of learning martial arts, children with autism essentially came out of their shells and grew more socially assertive and cooperative. They exhibited better balance and motor coordination, eye contact improved and play skills were further developed. Greater self-esteem was also reported, with the added bonus of these kids being able to defend themselves, if need be.
Karate and martial arts assist kids on the autism spectrum with the ability to concentrate and focus their attention in a consistent and highly structured environment. Additionally, parents find that new skills carry over into home and at school. The release of energy in a safe and ritualized environment can bring a child to a new sense of calm. Friendships are formed around a shared activity and that sense of belonging can be the greatest reward of all.
If contemplating martial arts for your child, it's always good to consult with his or her doctor prior to beginning any physical training. Observe the class before committing your child to it. It should be small and solely for children with autism, at least initially. Higher functioning children may be able to integrate into regular classes immediately. Confer with the instructor about your child's needs and make sure you feel you can successfully partner with them.
Once your child is underway, have them practice at home in a no pressure environment and offer encouragement and reinforcement for the moves they have already learned. A demonstration for siblings or other relatives will also go a long way in building confidence and self-esteem.
Martial arts offers therapeutic rewards and parents will enjoy the fact that their child can participate in activities that other kids take for granted. And with summer fast approaching, it just may be the perfect activity to consider.
1 out of 4 kids is bullied.
43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
Each day 160,000 students in the US miss school for fear of being bullied.
100,000 students carry a gun to school.
More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.
Playground school bullying statistics – Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention- 4%, Peer intervention- 11%, No intervention- 85%
Teenagers say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
61% said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
54% said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
On average, a school with a population of 800 teenagers, 20 of them are at a “HIGH RISK” to commit a school shooting.
Now that’s some scary stuff!
Register now for our Mission Bully Proof Community workshop. Our goal is to keep all kids safe in our town.