Every parent wants to keep their children safe. We watch the news and it can seem like the world is nothing but danger. We worry that our kids are vulnerable, and we wonder what we can do to keep them from being hurt or taken advantage of.
One risk that kids face is stranger danger. What would happen if a stranger with bad intentions approached our child? Would they know what to do?
Let’s talk about how studying the martial arts can help. It starts with personal awareness.
When kids spar in class, they learn the importance of paying attention to their surroundings. In a sparring match, they learn to use their peripheral vision and hone their instincts. These are skills that can help them in the real world, too.
They also learn to trust their instincts. When they spar with a classmate or instructor, they must react instinctively to protect themselves, avoid hits, and get the best of their opponent. We find this makes an especially big difference with young girls, who can sometimes mistrust their instincts because they want to be accommodating to others.
We never want to scare kids by overselling the risk that a stranger will approach them, but we do want to them to be confident, alert, and have good reflexes. That last thing is a skill that martial arts students learn quickly. Improving their motor function and coordination is part of it, too.
There are intangible ways that kids learn about danger, too. For example, we focus on respect. Kids learn to respect themselves and others. Part of that is respecting personal space. In the event that a stranger violates their personal space, your child will be aware that they’re behaving disrespectfully.
We already talked about how studying martial arts can help kids avoid being bullied. The same lessons apply to stranger danger. Children who carry themselves with confidence and self-awareness are less likely to be targeted than children who lack confidence or seem unsure of themselves.
There’s a fine line between teaching your kids about stranger danger and scaring them. We won’t cross that line. Instead, by teaching your child to be confident, respectful, and self-aware, we’ll give them the tools they need to keep themselves out of danger.
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