Resilience: Helping Children and Teens Build Coping Skills | Bay Area Martial Arts

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I signed my kindergartener daughter in the six-week promotion to see if she would enjoy martial arts. I knew after her first class that this was going to be truly enriching for her, and she loves going to her classes.
I love that the classes are age specific- and you can see how the teaching styles are geared towards each age group. As explained by Sensei Adrian in our assessment- four-year-olds and seven-year-olds are capable of different things at different times. Having them in age-appropriate classes will help them succeed because they are with their peers.
The instructors are firm but fair, and are amazing with a large group of kids. They don't coddle anyone, they have the same expectations of everyone.
I'm proud of how my daughter has taken to BAMA in such a short time. She has gotten stronger and already shows more self discipline (as much as can be expected from a five-year-old)!
My husband and I are so happy that we found Bay Area Martial Arts!

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My son just started and I already can see the difference in him. Thank you. This place is GREAT! You all should see if your child or children like it.

Leah Martin reviewed Bay Area Martial Arts
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My 13 year old son started at the dojo when he was 5 and my 9 year old daughter started when she was 3. Bringing them here has turned out to be one of the best decisions that my husband and I made for our children. The amount of focus and discipline that they have learned through martial arts has encompassed all parts of their lives. Both are excellent students and know how to stick up for themselves. My daughter will not think twice about being an ally for someone else. I am blown away by their self confidence. They have learned that you can succeed at anything you put your mind to with hard work and perseverance.

While learning the skills of working hard and self esteem, students get a great work out and have fun with Sifu Adrian and Sensei Ceci. They create a nurturing environment where children learn skills at their appropriate developmental stage. They have become family and I am forever grateful for all that they have done for my children.

Kelly Correll Brown reviewed Bay Area Martial Arts
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My 7 year old son started at Bay Area Martial Arts in January of this year. After nearly 6 months I have seen such a change in him both physically and emotionally. My son was always scared of trying new things - like riding a scooter or doing a handstand - because his balance has never been that great. Martial arts has really helped him build confidence and the physical strength to try new things. Respect for yourself, your family, and people in the wider world is something that he is learning and doing. Sensei Adrian, Nate, and Ceci have been so wonderful not just to our son, but to our whole family. They really care about these kids - not just to make them ninjas (because lets face it... what kid doesn't want to be a ninja?!?!), but about helping them be the best version of themselves that they can be. Thanks so much you guys!!!!

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Resilience: Helping Children and Teens Build Coping Skills

Stress is a significant part of our lives today. And while we all experience it, children and teens have a more difficult time managing it. Academic pressure, social tensions, family stressors, etc. all impact a young person’s mental well-being. For this reason, it’s important for parents to help their children develop coping skills by guiding them through tough times instead of jumping in to save them from any discomfort that may come along.

Children and teens often present stress as what adults call a meltdown or a tantrum. Psychologists call it “flooding.” This happens when a wave of strong, negative emotions flood in and rational thinking goes out the door. The amygdala, which helps coordinate emotional responses to the environment, is engaged during this. Since the prefrontal cortex, or self-control center, is not fully developed, children and teens struggle to get control of the powerful wave of emotions. And to top it all off, emotions are contagious, so when children are upset, parents get upset too.

When parents experience this with their child, it often leads to one of two possible responses. Either the parent wants to jump in and save their child from the distress or they feel that the issue is not as big of a deal as the child is making it to be. However, we must remember that children deal with situations that are real and big to them, such as starting a new school year or studying for an exam. If we don’t address stressors that our children experience, it can lead to the development of poor coping skills, a weakened immune system, and an increase in anxiety.

To counteract the effects of anxiety, it’s important to help children become resilient in the face of adversity, stress, or failure. This means that parents need to refrain from “fixing” and, instead, connect and be present for them while validating their feelings. In the heat of the moment, working on calming techniques such as deep breathing or going for a walk can help calm them since oxygen stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. Once they are calm, for younger children it’s best to help them name the feelings they are experiencing. For teens, brainstorming solutions is effective.

Many adults were not taught healthy coping strategies growing up so teaching and modeling appropriate ones for children and teens is difficult. On a positive note, there are numerous resources available to help. In the SKILLZ program, Teaching SKILLZ and Parent SKILLZ are used to help children develop a growth mindset by stimulating positive brain chemicals and helping parents better connect and be attuned to their child’s needs. Each class also carries an optimistic tone throughout, so children embrace mistakes and, therefore, develop a growth mindset.

Coping skills take a lot of practice and it’s important for parents to role model healthy ones and guide their children in the development of their own skills. Finding things that makes a child feel good is key in creating these abilities that will lead to resiliency. As the neuroscience saying goes “neurons that fire together, wire together.” Too much stress and no coping skills cause negative wiring in the brain to get stronger. But this can be changed when we strengthen the positive circuitry in the brain and spend more time working on healing procedures and healthy coping skills.

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Make it a great day,

Sensei Adrian