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Thread: Self defense for a child - necessary?

  1. #1
    Platinum Member charity's Avatar
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    Self defense for a child - necessary?

    My son is 12 - a very easy going, kind and affectionate kid. I'v never had any behavioral issues with him and we are very close. He has some learning difficulties and so school work is a tough area for him but other than that he likes school and has a few close friends who are of a very similar nature to him. Recently, a boy in his class began being quite mean to him, calling him 'dumb', 'stupid' and so forth. This progressed to him scribbling on my sons schoolwork, then a punch in the stomach during yard time and just last week the boy called my son the N word. The boy is very troubled and very angry and my son is just the latest victim of his negative behavior. My son has handled this really well. The words did not hurt him. He doesn't seem to be affected. He stood up for himself and he reported the issue to the teacher. He did mention though that he was concerned that this boy would one day 'beat' him up. I've done everything that I can and the school are responding as best they can.

    I did not handle it as well as my son. I'm not sure if my feelings are normal or an overreaction. I was livid and upset on behalf of my son. I am genuinely worried about this boys anger and his dislike towards my son. The boy is aggressive and violent. My son absolutely is not, he is the complete opposite and so is the perfect target. In a few years these kids will be teens living in the same town. This boy is already part of a gang of similar kids and I have started to think and be concerned for the future. I am parenting alone and have always taught my children that violence is not the answer, use words, surround yourself with good people etc etc. Male friends have often told me that my son should learn how to defend himself because 'boys will be boys' and he will have to face the real world. I have always disagreed and felt that my son can stand up for himself in an appropriate and dignified manner without needing to use violence.

    So I started thinking about getting my son into self defense classes. All men I've spoken to seem to think this is a good idea and necessary. My son will never provoke a fight I am sure but perhaps these classes would aid his physical strength and confidence in turn making him less of a target. At the very least the class could help him protect vital areas of his body if he was beaten up.

    But my son is against this idea. It does not appeal to him one bit. I took him to one class and he absolutely hated it. Even though the class was mostly exercising and fitness with just a few minutes spent on punching and kicking, he absolutely hated it. He really is not into physical exertion so the class was just one long session of discomfort for him. I've asked him to give it a chance for 5/6 weeks and he does not want to. Of course he will if I force him.

    And here is my reason for posting. Should I force him? I don't feel good doing that. But I can't help feeling that it could stand to him the future and he should give it a genuine chance. What does everyone think?

    Thank you!

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    What kind of class was it? Karate, Tae Kwon Do?

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    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    What kind of class was it? Karate, Tae Kwon Do?
    It was Krav Maga. Its in our town and I have a friend who goes there. There was both boys and girls.

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    That might be too intense. Maybe try a basic self defense or Tae Kwon Do.

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    Charity, have you met with the principal of the school? Have you met with the parents of the boys who are bullying him? I would do that first.

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    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    My wife and I are having a lot of conversations about issues like this as we're going to be starting a family once we move in a couple months. I think knowing how to defend oneself and having the strength and fitness to do so is a life skill, not a hobby. So, yes, it will be compulsory for any children we have, son or daughter. Just as much as it will be for them to learn how to change a tire, start a fire, tie a knot, speak a second language, first aid, among whatever else. That's not to say it can't or won't be incentivized where and when possible or that it's gonna be some big focal point of their lifestyle or anything, but yeah, there will most likely be privileges contingent on it, even if turns out more effort-based than performance-based.

    Martial arts, even Krav Maga, take a long, long time, a lot of dedication, and frankly passion to successfully adopt for practical self-defense. I took as many different combatives courses as I could in the Army, a lot of which incorporated it, but I couldn't begin to say I'm proficient in it. There may not be a way to get him to be motivated for this program in particular, but perhaps if you can give him some illusion of choice in pursuing the exercise / strength / self-defense training within other programs or, if it's within your financial means, hiring a reputable one-on-one instructor, you could test different waters with him while letting him know this is something he needs to do as much as he needs to do dishes.

    It's not like he needs to be able to compete in MMA. It doesn't take a whole lot to get an edge ahead of the general population. Honestly, even if all you can get from him is general fitness, it'd be more than a whole lot of kids and give him a much better chance of, at the very least, running away. If it's never been acculturated in him and if he's not innately interested in it, that may be all you can hope for.
    Last edited by j.man; 03-29-2019 at 04:16 PM.

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    Originally Posted by SarahLancaster
    Charity, have you met with the principal of the school? Have you met with the parents of the boys who are bullying him? I would do that first.
    That has all been done Sarah. Everyone is receptive and doing their best.

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    Originally Posted by j.man

    It's not like he needs to be able to compete in MMA. It doesn't take a whole lot to get an edge ahead of the general population. Honestly, even if all you can get from him is general fitness, it'd be more than a whole lot of kids and give him a much better chance of, at the very least, running away.
    Thanks j.man, that's my feeling on it too. I'm actually surprised at how much he hated it as it was a good class. After the class he basically told me me he was very angry at me, he understood why I felt it was important but its okay he's got this and he can handle it his own way.

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    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    That might be too intense. Maybe try a basic self defense or Tae Kwon Do.
    Possibly. I will research different classes. Perhaps as j.man suggested I could let him choose which class he prefers.

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    I donít think itís ďnecessaryĒ - he can continue using his words, and surrounding himself with friends, and taking precautions.

    I do think there are benefits, though... ability to defend himself, self-confidence, etc.

    In my opinion... you know... life sucks sometimes. It sucks and we sometimes have to do things that we donít really want to do - but we do it because itís good for us. Examples: eating our vegetables, exercise, cleaning the house, going to work, etc. We donít have to like it or be excited about it, but we have to do it. I think this is an important lesson in life too.

    I donít think you should ever feel guilty for ďmakingĒ your child do something that you feel is in their best interest. You are mom. Thatís your job, IMO. You have the benefit and wisdom that comes with life experience and are therefore in the best position to guide them...

    I know I have a number of things Iíve later (20+ years later) thanked my parents for ďmakingĒ me do that I had no interest in at the time... (swimming lessons comes to mind - a life skill and life saver!!)

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