Here is the real life story I shared with most of you in class. This is the secret behind taking this first step -You learn to stop the small stuff byUSING THIS ON YOUR GOOD FRIENDS! (Not on bullies or people really hurting you, at first.). Not only do you develop courage, but you also learn to assertively and respectfully expect good, healthy friendships and relationships. You make your friend good friends.
If you can just get your child to use the "Four Steps" the first time, they will be changed forever. The story below illustrates this better than I ever could.
Here is what you can do right now to help your child take this first life-changing step:
1. Sit down with them with a pad of pad and pencil.
2. Have them write down the names of all their friends, classmates and other kids they spend time with.
3. Next to their names rate each on on a scale of 1-10 on how kind and nice they are as friends. A "10" being they are always kind and courteous, the best of friends. A "5" being, most of the time they are nice but sometimes . . . ? Then a "1" being, you know, they often do things that are not nice or appropriate, they can actually be mean.
4. Here is the important part - Pick the easy targets first. They need to build courage by being set up for success at the start. (A bully is too hard for most to back down until they build up their courage and strength.). After reading the story below with them, start with your "5's". These are your friends that could be a little bit better friends. Help you child to start "calling them out" for some of the small things their "5" friend do. They will be surprised because their friends will actually respect and admire them for doing this.
In the end, your real reward is when their courage and assertiveness grows. But even better, when you get the peace of mind knowing they will always have friends and relationships based on kindness and respect!
Could you just imagine if all our kids in middle school and high school did this?
Yours for stronger kids,
Here is the email from one of our wonderful karate moms:
I wanted to send you a short note to let you know that "It works!" I mentioned it briefly at the dojo but I wanted to give you the details of an example of Ava standing up for herself in school. The other morning before school, she was kind of moping around and said, "Mom, can you ask Mrs Smith (her teacher) to tell Kevin to stop teasing me?". I asked Ava what was going on and she said that Kevin, who sits directly in front of her, often will turn around when the teacher isn't looking and pull down his mask to "tease" her. I assured her that I will always help her to resolve big problems and then I asked her if she thought that this was a big problem. A light bulb went off and her face lit up. We talked about how she could apply her karate training to resolve her situation at school. It worked! She took her words and confidence to school that day. Her body language as she ran off the bus that afternoon said it all. She was very proud of herself for handling the situation. Ava said, " Kevin even asked if I would play with him at recess." I'm a proud mama too:)
Julie ____________________________ And, my reply back: Julie, Wow, this is HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ava just got STRONGER! If we as parents always come to their rescue, especially on the small stuff, kids never learn to do it on their own. Plus they miss a golden opportunity to build up their confidence and courage. I bet because of this, Ava never accepts anyone treating her anything less than she expects from them. She also is gaining the skills of knowing when to ask for help from an adult and when she should not. When she should handle it herself. As she gets older, adults will not be around all the time to protect her. It should be a reassuring feeling for you as a parent knowing she can protect and stand up for herself when needed. She is learning the powerful lesson of being able to say "NO"! That is funny but not surprising that Kevin wants to play with her now. Kevin may not be a “bully", but often when we help kids (and their parents) with bullying, once a child turns the table on a bully with strength, the bully will want to be their friend. Kids are often confused why someone who was hurting them would all of a sudden want to be nice to them and their friend. How could someone who has been hurting me for months, or years, all of a sudden want to be my friend? This happens all the time. It is because of the shift of power. You now have the power and they need to be close to that power if they cannot have it themselves. But what probably has more than likely happened is Kevin "kind of likes" Ava and he was teasing her to get her attention (Oh you are in trouble when she becomes a teen ;-)) But this is even better because Ava had the courage to establish in her relationship with Kevin - she expects him to treat her with kindness and courtesy, and she will not tolerate anything less. She “put him in his place" so to speak in a assertive yet respectful way. If every girl (and boy) was this way, there would never be any controlling or abusive relationships. They take charge from he start with strength and confidence by letting them know what type of friendship they expects. Like we say in class "You get what you tolerate!" Nice job mom. You are developing a STRONG young lady. “I always stand up for myself and others!” Yours for stronger kids, Sensei P.S. - If I change the names can I share this amazing story with our other parents? I always say, “If you can just get your child to do this once they will be changed forever!"