Recently at the VMAs, the pop-singer Pink used her acceptance speech as a platform to address the insecurities that she’d heard from her six-year-old daughter. Her daughter felt she was ugly because she thought she looked like a boy with long hair. Because she’s so young, it’s easy to see how these insecurities could be attributed to bullying. Pink explained to her child that she’d faced criticism herself for being too masculine and did not let it deter her from becoming successful. She proceeded to show her daughter iconic celebrities that were considered odd and had endured the same criticism and managed to become legendary people. This allowed the little girl to see how amazing it is to be different when you have confidence and embrace who you are.
Bullying has always been a difficult topic to discuss. Some people avoid the topic in an effort to keep the peace but rarely does ignoring a problem ever solve it. Bullying causes children to feel inferior to others and doubt themselves when they should be using this time to discover who they are, what makes them unique, and be confident in that person. At a young age, embracing who you are is difficult to do when others try to keep you down.
Why do kids bully?
Lack of self-confidence is the main reason that bullies do what they do. You’d assume that bullies have the most confidence, but they prey on those that they perceive to be weak because of their own insecurities. Most of the time, bullies have been already bullied by someone else and are simply taking out their aggression on whoever is accessible. They do this in an effort to make themselves feel superior. Their lack of confidence leads them to do cruel things to gain a sense of empowerment and control. Making their victims feel small is always the goal, so they’ll target whoever they believe they can break.
How to combat bullying?
Making sure that your child’s school has an anti-bullying awareness campaign is a great first step. Aside from that, if bullies don’t perceive your child as a victim, they’ll have nothing to target. Mind you, this has nothing to do with how intimidating your child looks, but with how they carry themselves. Instilling a sense confidence in our children will allow them to deter bullies. If your child is strong-minded, they cannot be broken by an insecure person. They’ll have a self-confidence and positive self-image that cannot be shaken because they truly believe in themselves and feel empowered.
What makes a person confident?
Confidence is essentially certainty or the belief that you can trust someone or something. Self-confidence is believing and trusting in yourself. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it is a decision be better and do better. Children must be exposed to confidence in order to learn confidence. They look to their role models to empower them before they learn to look inward for validation. It’s important as parents to tell our children how smart, or beautiful, or talented they are and to teach them that they can obtain anything that they work hard for. We must encourage them to try new things and develop a sense of importance.
Back in 2012, a psychologist by the name of Amy Cuddy presented a very popular Ted Talk that focused on the effectiveness of body language and power posing. She explains that our nonverbals actually speak volumes to others and ourselves. When we are proud, we naturally tend to stretch out and open up our bodies. When we are less confident, we do the opposite and make ourselves small. When you’re alone, all you have to do is assume high-power poses for about two minutes, even when you don’t feel very confident, and your body will respond with real confidence. This talk was directed towards adults when facing interviews or other stressful situations that might require a little extra confidence, but who says this can’t apply to children?
What’s the best way to instill confidence in a child?
Although there are many options as far as how a child can gain confidence, physical activities and training like martial arts would be one of the best choices. The discipline that a child learns during martial arts training allows them to gain a sense of control. It requires kids to focus on their goal and using their abilities to achieve that goal. Teaching a child to master his or her body allows them to find that independence that they need.
Many powerful poses and stances are taught during martial arts training, so imagine the incredible effect that these classes could have on your child. Every single class provides them with techniques that focus on posture and poised behavior. Every sparring match allows your child to perform under pressure, which is a huge benefit and skill that must be used throughout life. Your child will take the confidence learned from martial arts and carry it with them in everyday life.
How will children be affected by martial arts overall?
Your children will be walking tall with their heads held high, owning the confidence that they’ve developed. Although confidence can easily become arrogance, the martial arts also teach humbleness and sportsmanship. This is an extremely important characteristic to have because, without humbleness, your child could easily become the bully. Be sure to keep your child down to earth as their confidence soars.
In addition to the confidence that they will have gained, they’ll obviously acquire some useful techniques in combat. While violence is never the goal in martial arts, in the worse case scenario, your child will be able to defend themselves if they are ever threatened. Let’s face it, you’ll always have those alphas in life that just want to dominate everyone. But, if your child is strong-minded, those bullies won’t be successful in making them feel small. The bully will have wasted their time trying to break the powerful human being that you’ve raised.