Six Skills every child needs to protect themselves

word of month character

There are six skills that I believe are necessary for every child to learn in a progressive manner, depending on their age that will both protect them from bullying and from being a bully.  In that all of us have the capability to be both – these 6 skills will be a protection to ourselves if we are targeted or if we have become aggressive.  Adult or child, it is likely that having a coach to work on these skills will be helpful.

What are the six skills?

  • Empathy
  • Assertiveness
  • Identifying social cues
  • How to be a friend
  • Self defense
  • Online safety skills

These six skills – and they are skills because they can be taught and we are not be able to turn it on / off at will – take time to develop and are best learned by seeing them modeled by our coach.  Parents – You are the Coach.  

None of these skills are going to be learned by a single sit down conversation where we tell our children what is expected from them or what they have to do.  All of the skills take time, and I suggest our 3 minutes a day concept.  Here is an example, using the very first skill listed, Empathy.

Respect, Empathy, Self-Control
Respect, Empathy, Self-Control

Empathy cannot be taught in passing.  Parent’s are concerned about a child when they have hurt the feelings of another person.  It is easy to say, “think about their feelings”, but for a child they are most likely thinking about their own feelings, so these words mean very little to them.

Empathy comes from the inside of a person – not from the words of others from the outside.  So we must begin by giving our child the words they need to describe their own feelings.   Those ‘emotion’ words must be taught and then used by parents and child in describing how they are feeling.  Doing this when our children are young and continuing will give them the start to a vocabulary to describe their feeling.  Then those feeling words can be applied to what we see is happening to others.  As they get older we can do more reflection with them.
In our class,  “The Truth About Bullying”   we will discuss each of the six skills and how to teach them to our children in more detail.  You will be really surprised at our definition and practice of Self Defense.  Come to our class on Saturday, September 27 at 10 AM or schedule Joe Van Deuren to present this information to your own parent group.

Life Skills: 5 Tips For Teaching Children Perseverance With a No Excuses Attitude

word of month character
Teaching character and life skills to students

Teaching children about perseverance is more than just telling them they have to do their homework now, or they have to practice the piano or their martial arts or dance.  Teaching children perseverance starts first with setting the example and then using the words with them that demonstrate the lessons you are teaching.

Lesson #1 Perseverance requires not becoming overwhelmed, but taking one step at a time.  We do not teach our children to walk in one day, it runs it course with a little practice everyday for a few months and then one day – they are walking.  The same is true when we set out to reach a goal.  Show your children how to make a plan with one small step at a time and progress will be seen before you know it.  Keep a record of the starting point and celebrate the small victories.  Show them the before and after pictures of where they are today.

Lesson #2 Teach our children not just how to manage their time – but to prioritize.  In any time management course they will show you how to list and categorize A,B,C and then 1,2,3 till you can see the most important and urgent items on your list.  But prioritizing is also learning about giving up some in the C group, fun to do but not important to reaching your goal, so that your goal can be reached.  What are you willing to give up now to reach your goal in the future?  Yes it takes self discipline and learning not to giving in to peer pressure.  Model this for your child and point out when you are setting this example.

Lesson #3 Just as important as managing time is managing your energy.  teaching our children and setting the example of eating in a healthy manner, getting enough sleep, and exercise are the three key ingredients to having the energy to put the time in required to meet your goals.  Are you and your family eating enough water based foods?  Are you getting the 7-8 hours of sleep you need or if it is a child it may be 10-12 hours of sleep?  Does your family have a regular exercise routine, doing some things together too.  All of this will be particularly valuable to your children as they grow into the teen years.

Lesson #4 Teaching our children not to let the lack of resources be a discouraging factor in them reaching their goals is important as we teach them about desire, motivation and creativity.  So many highly successful individuals in the world started out with very little or nothing, or had physical disabilities or other obstacles, yet were able to reach their goals.  Look for examples in all different professions that you can share with your children to encourage them to use their creativity.

Lesson #5 Pursue your interests and what makes you happy.  Don’t worry if it is the popular thing to do or if your friends are following this path too.  Don’t think about what others think, or do.  Find others that can mentor and support you in the areas that you are interested in.  Introducing our children to people, young and old, in their fields of interest is a great way of encouraging them to continue to pursue their interest and to understand what they need to be the best they can be.