Self-Defense Skills in the Family Environment
When I say “self-defense” do you imagine that you should train your 18-month-old to be the next Bruce Lee? Holistic self-defense means more than physically fighting back. The core mental, verbal and relationship skills can be taught in developmentally appropriate ways throughout your child’s life, starting at a very young age.
We teach our kids lots of skills before they are really expected to use them. My daughter “brushed her teeth” for many years before we entrusted her with her own dental care. Self-defense is the same. We don’t expect our littlest ones to keep themselves safe; that’s a job for grown-ups. But we can embed violence-prevention behaviors into our family cultures in the same way we cultivate health-promoting (“eat your broccoli”), pro-social (“say ‘thank you’”) or ethical (“tell the truth”) conduct.