Team Sports: The “No Bull” Approach to Combating Bullying

There is story after story in the media about peer bullying and too many affected youth. Frankly, I’m tired of it (what parent isn’t?). I don’t think that anyone is understating just how severe this epidemic is, nor the seriousness of how it influences our loved ones.

We can love our children to pieces and try to surround them with positive, yet, for many, that alone isn’t enough. We can compliment our kids and try to build them up ourselves, but fact is, for the majority, feeling accepted and having peer approval plays an important role in their own self valuation and feelings of self-worth. Realizing that your opinion and your own actions may not hold enough weight with your child is one of the hardest things about being a parent; however, that doesn’t mean that you can’t help your child. And even better news: If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’ve already done it!

So much of our children’s self-esteem is a result of their environment. The teacher in a classroom leads by example, drives their classroom culture, and – from day one – builds the expectation for performance and behavior. In a nurturing environment, children are more likely to volunteer information, be comfortable giving – and learning from – a “wrong” answer, and placing themselves in the spotlight. In an overly competitive classroom where there is a sharper tone, you are likely to find the students more subdued and withheld. It’s simple logic and psychology 101: Build the environment that matches the students you want to have. Nurture them and they will nurture, support them and they will support others.

Our gym fosters this every day. And, guess what – by nature, in the right environment, team sports are a great way to combat bullying!

Yes, we are competitive – but against other teams. And while our athletes are competitive, they also learn the value of being a team player and being reciprocally supported by their teammates.

And not only that – from a time standpoint, our athletes are busy! Some of the biggest, saddest bullying horror stories out there are cyber bullying cases. Guess who doesn’t have the time or interest in hanging out online, getting swept up in the nonsense that leads to cyber bullying? Busy athletes with higher priorities!

Drama fuels insecurity, and busy kids just don’t have the need to get swept up in that “empty-tainment.” They know that there are more important things out there and have goals for themselves that they are actively working to achieve. They practice, have drive, and ambition – and they know what success feels like. They have community – with their teammates, parents, and coaches. They already have acceptance. They have friends. They have a solid foundation, They are constantly building confidence.

I don’t mean to say that every one of our athletes is impermeable – everyone has hidden insecurities, after all. But I am confident in saying that our athletes are engaged with a great community, with fewer distractions, and less propensity to be sidetracked by the activities and environments that so often result in bullying and negativity.

Karl P.

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p.p.s. – Help your child to believe in themselves enrol them in our amazing cheer, tumbling, or ninja classes – http://join.ultimatecheer.myascs.com/

 

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