Tween years are the hardest. Our daughters turn from sweet toddlers to moody tween girls overnight. But who can blame them? Navigating through fluctuating hormones, peer pressure, and Common Core, (AKA the bane of my existence), is hard work. It’s also around the time outside influences like social media and mainstream media start playing a role in their day-to-day life, and they start to question if they’re good enough, pretty enough, or popular enough. Not to mention the growing epidemic of online and school bullying they have to deal with. All these pressing concerns led my husband and I to enroll our shy 11 year old daughter in Taekwondo.
I’ll admit, being a mom who's always dressed her up in dresses and bows, I’ve always pictured her as a graceful ballerina, not as a kick-ass martial artist, so it was a hard pill to swallow myself. But after watching her struggle in the other sports we put her in, I reluctantly agreed that she should try it. It wasn’t pretty at first. Tears were shed. Eyes were rolled. And there was plenty of sulking. But we didn’t let her quit and guess, what? Yesterday, she earned her first yellow belt! We were so proud, but most importantly SHE was so proud! Which brings me to why I believe that Taekwondo is a game-changer for girls, especially tween girls.
1. Teaches Them To Stand Up For Themselves.
In class they will learn to be more assertive. To think and use their voice and not be afraid to speak up. For shy girls like my daughter, this is huge.
2. Boosts Confidence
What girl doesn’t need a little extra boost of confidence? Once they realize what they’re capable of on and off the mat, the sky is the limit.
3. Helps Practice Self-Control
Martial arts is not about fighting. It’s about disciple and self-control and focusing on basic foundations I hope she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.
In Taekwondo they learn in order to get respect, they must give respect. And above all, have self-respect. Can I get an AMEN?
5. Ability to Overcome Challenges
Nothing in life is given to you, you must earn it. The faster they understand this the better of they’ll be. In class they focus on challenging themselves and persevering no matter what.
6. Strengthens Their Character
In a world where standards are low, strength of character is just as important as physical strength. Why not build up their standards with the five tenets of Taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit?
7. They Learn Self-Defense
You know when life puts them in a tough spot, they’ll be confident enough to know what to do and how to get out of a situation they’re not comfortable in. As a parent, this puts your mind at ease.
8. Physical Activity for Their Growing Bodies
As much as our daughters would love to spend all day on the phone or on the computer, having them be physically active will help ensure that they become healthy active adults.