Teach Your Child to Break Out of Their Shell Through Martial Arts
Most children feel shy from time to time, but many parents with extremely shy kids can relate to the concern that their child’s shyness will create roadblocks later in life.
When they’re around other kids or even adults, a shy child often feels like a fish out of water. Even among familiar faces, a child who is extremely shy will often find themselves playing alone or silently watching others having fun. This can be concerning to a parent. Not only can shyness make it difficult for your child to express their real feelings in social situations, but it can also prevent them from forming healthy relationships with their peers.
If your child’s shyness is overly severe, it can have a lasting impact on their lives in many other ways, including:
- Reduced self-esteem and increased feelings of loneliness
- Less participation or interest in activities that require interaction with others (sports, dance, drama, music etc.)
- Fewer opportunities to develop or practise social skills
- Trouble making friends, continuing into adulthood
- Reduced likelihood of reaching full potential due to fear of judgment
- Risk of developing anxiety
- Physical effects such as blushing, stammering, and trembling
So, What Causes Shyness and Low Self-Esteem in Children?
Schools, neighbourhoods, communities, family life, and culture all shape a child. Connections a child makes within these networks contribute to their development. Although approximately 15 per cent of infants are born with a tendency toward shyness, in most cases, shyness is influenced by early social encounters.
For most children, their earliest relationships are with their parents. Because of this, these relationships have the power to determine how the child will approach relationships later on. Parents who are overprotective or overly critical will more often find themselves dealing with an overly shy child. Children who aren’t allowed to experience things may also develop shyness, or have trouble developing social skills.
A warm, caring approach to raising children usually results in them being more comfortable around others. It’s important for a child to be exposed to other children and even adults early in life. That’s where karate comes in!
Enrolling your child in karate lessons is a perfect way to give your child guidance – and more importantly, practice – in connecting positively with their peers. Karate nurtures self-confidence, self-discipline, self-esteem, and other important life skills that will help your child grow up equipped to face the world.
Why Karate is Good for Shy Children
Provides A Supportive Group Environment, Teaches Respect
Respect is one of the biggest lessons your child will learn in martial arts. From day one, your child will be taught to respect their instructors because they have more skill and experience. They will also be taught to respect their peers and, above all, themselves.
Karate encourages children to appreciate the worth of others. Because of this, your child will know that they are in an environment where their instructors and fellow students truly appreciate them and see their true value.
Few things build confidence and social skills more effectively than a sense of pride and achievement. The longer your child sticks with karate and the harder they work, the more rewards they will receive. Whether it’s a higher coloured belt or simply a “way to go!” from their instructor and their peers when they finally break that board, being rewarded for their hard work can have a significant impact on your child’s confidence.
Your child will also learn how to overcome obstacles and be persistent when they are not progressing as quickly as they would like. Karate allows your child to learn at their own pace, while still maintaining that essential group environment for nurturing social skills. Karate will instill a ‘no-quit’ attitude, which will help carry your child through the rest of their life.
One of the most important lessons a child learns from karate is a positive sense of self. By setting tangible goals and accomplishing each one of them at their own pace with the support of their peers, children gain a sense of achievement that boosts their self-esteem. Eventually, they will realize that they can work hard and improve in other areas of their life as well.
Teaches Leadership Skills
The critical leadership skills that can be developed through karate are often overlooked. As your child advances from one belt to the next, their instructor will often give them the responsibility of showing the new kids the ropes. The goal here is to teach your child patience, listening, and communication skills.
Through this exercise, your child will also learn leadership skills that will encourage them to open up and become more responsible. This will teach them to overcome shyness in other areas of their life, as they learn to take initiative in situations that require them to show leadership.
Helps with Peer Pressure and Deters Bullies
Shy children often have a hard time saying no to others, whether it’s a family member, teacher, or even other children. To them, it’s easier to simply appease others than to get caught in an uncomfortable confrontation. Unfortunately, this bad habit can follow them into adolescence and, eventually, adulthood. Children who are shy and socially anxious are more likely to give into peer pressure and make poor decisions. It also makes them a prime target for bullies.
Karate will give your child the skills to defend themselves physically and emotionally, to stand up for what they believe and be confident enough to act on their true feelings. Rather than teaching your child to “get even,” through karate your child will learn that they can overcome any challenge if they are strategic and hardworking. Not only will they gain physical strength, but they will develop the mental toughness to leap over other hurdles in their life.
It’s important to remember that all children experience shyness at some point in their life. However, for children whose shyness has reached a point where it is debilitating, it can rob them of the opportunity to have a fulfilling childhood and leave them feeling like outcasts.
If you’re a parent dealing with an extremely shy child, it’s important to stay future-oriented. If your child has problems socializing, enroll them in a local karate class. You’ll start to see noticeable improvements in their academic performance, peer-to-peer relationships, hobbies and extracurriculars, family relationships, and most importantly, their self-confidence.
Through karate, your child will mix with peers, learn new skills, and eventually gain the confidence they need to succeed in every part of their life.