“Not equipping your daughter with self-defense skills is like knowing she’s going to be around bodies of water and not teaching her to swim.” Tim Larkin
The unfortunate truth about the world we live in is that we are always at risk of violence. When many people think about the term self-defense, they envision a worst-case scenario. How would I defend myself from the predator in the park, the guy staring a little too long at the bar, or the man asking for my help loading groceries into his van in the parking lot? If you read that scenario and were already thinking about all the things you could do to thwart the danger and get yourself out of the situation, congratulations. You are already practicing good self-defense! You are thinking about the situation and the practical way you will avoid it. When did you start thinking about these things and when did someone teach you about the potential dangers?
Follow along in today’s post as we discuss teaching young girls self-defense.
Waiting until we are grown to learn self-defense is like waiting until we have been diagnosed to begin preventative treatment. We must teach our daughters young.
Teaching toddlers self-defense.
Toddlers? Yes, toddlers. While it is not necessary to instill fear or warn them of the dangers lurking amongst us, teaching them awareness and self-defense can help in many situations. Every 40 seconds in the United States a child goes missing. Nearly 75 percent of children who are abducted are girls. 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are the victim of sexual abuse during childhood. While the most vulnerable age for this abuse is 7 to 13, grooming typically occurs at a much younger age. Additionally, bullying begins as soon as a child is introduced into a social setting, and learning to defend yourself at a young age not only helps mitigate abuse from peers, but also helps to instill confidence that is needed to shrug off some taunts as well as not appearing as an easy target.
One of the first physical activities that young children can get involved with is karate. Girls as young as three can be enrolled in their local dojo, learning defensive posturing, awareness, and ways to physically defend themselves. Karate and similar activities allow young girls to learn self-discipline, self-control, body awareness, and critical thinking skills that will help them be formidable opponents.
Reinforcing strength in tweens and teens
If you taught your daughters self-defense young, including awareness, confidence, body-respect, and physical defense, you are on your way to nurturing a strong, confident woman. However, your work is far from done! Adolescence is already a very vulnerable time in a person’s life. Puberty and transitioning from a child to an adult is full of challenges. Peer pressure becomes much more of a concern and this age group begins experimenting with things that put them at risk for violence — dating, sex, drinking, and drugs, just to name a few. And, when youth know that they are engaging in activities that they should not be, they are much less likely to ask for help when things go awry.
Violence in many forms begins in the tween/teen age group — bullying, gang violence, sexual assault, intimate partner violence. In fact, 1 in 3 young women between the ages of 14 and 24 are the victim of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by their intimate partner — that is three times the already too-high national average! Nearly half of all women in college will experience some sort of dating violence and 1 in 6 girls/women in this age group will be the victim of a sexual assault. These statistics don’t even begin to address those who are at an increased risk for violence, including those who live in abusive homes or have run away from home.
Young women in this age group can be taught all of the self-defense techniques.
- Situations to avoid and signs to look for
- Intuitive response and active awareness
- Options for leaving abusive situations
- What abuse or intimate partner violence is
- How to physically fight back if attacked
- Krav Maga and other disciplined tactics
- Resources for assistance
- How to shoot a gun
- How to safely carry and use a self-defense weapon
It is never too early to teach your daughter she is worthy of respect and capable of defending herself.
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