So, you’ve decided that your child is ready to learn something about self defense. Where should you start? What kind of skills and behaviors does your child need to know for adequate self defense and safety and where can they get them?
As a parent you may already be personally skilled in the art of self defense and understand the principles of personal safety. If this is true for you then you have probably already shared your knowledge and skills with your child and may be participating in a formal martial arts or self defense program yourself.
If not, here are a few tips for helping your child to learn and develop these skills for themselves:
  • Develop a plan with your child. Rehearse commonly unsafe conditions with them and help them to learn how to use appropriate responses like running away and telling a trusted adult, yelling loudly or fighting back.
  • Ensure that your child has several trusted contacts and safe places to call or run to in the event of an emergency situation or unsafe condition. Help them to memorize phone numbers and addresses.
  • Identify and teach your child several basic physical self defense moves to use if they are being attacked like kicking or punching.
  • Sign them up for a martial arts training program in your area. Most martial arts schools incorporate safety awareness, stranger awareness and simple physical tactics for dealing with an attack as a part of their program.
The basics of self defense and personal safety really begin at home so, as a parent, you are your child’s first, best teacher and role model. You might consider enrolling your entire family in a good martial arts program to ensure a consistent and supportive environment in which you can all learn to practice good habits for safety and self defense.