First negative feedback on self-defense seminar for girls

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shesulsa

shesulsa

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I'm thinking - the Q&A session or the roundup at the end of the session is usually held in the middle of the gym and sometimes those little girl voices that meekly ask, "is rape when a boy puts his weenie in your butt?" might not carry back to the adults, so they hear my booming voice and assume I'm the one bringing it up.

I'm thinking they want someone to teach their kids how to use voices and say NO a million times but never have to experience any pain whatsoever.

I think people don't understand the difference between pain and injury.

I think people think they are doing the right thing by their kids by not exposing them to undesirable content too early. And truthfully, as a parent now, that IS a fine line to walk, folks. I erred on the side of giving my kids TOO much information, right up to the EW factor and then backed off. They sometimes still roll their eyes at me. At least my son has thanked me (of his own volition) for being honest and truthful about this kind of thing.
 

aedrasteia

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sometimes those little girl voices that meekly ask, "is rape when a boy puts his weenie in your butt?" might not carry back to the adults, so they hear my booming voice and assume I'm the one bringing it up.

smiling - _so familiar_!!

more later, but a quick add: 4 critical things in sessions:

# I won't locate is a big open space for just that reason. If I have to use a gym, we mark off a space that is 'just for us' and use streamers, tape, equipment etc. to show our space. I scope out the space in advance, make my plan and then get the girls/women to make suggestions and put it in place. Its a huge hit, gets everybody involved and working together right away, breaks the 'ice' and isolation... and its the early set-up for the conversation about boundaries and why it is OK and a good thing to have them. Yep - its called 'setting a boundary' and i do it with all classes, age groups. It takes something abstract and makes it very concrete, and I use the lead-in during the entire class. And we do it right at the start.

# those little girl voices that meekly ask,...
with ALL girls and women I find ways to make this step less threatening. Early in the 'little girls' sessions I talk about having a 'icky, scary, uh-oh' feeling around certain kids or adults or tv/movies/news. They all know how that feels. They can come up and whisper in my ear (or one of my helpers) about the situation/people that gives them that feeling. We jot the basics on a card and I use them during the session.

With older girls and women, also right at the start, they get index cards and can write it out for themselves. No names unless they want to add theirs and i never discuss whose it is - but often, when they feel more comfortable, they will claim their own situation. Sometimes I can address several items at one time. We discuss, I inform and we do lots and lots of brain-storming as a large group. in 2s and 3s, teams, generate lots of discussion and DO SCENARIOS based on their real life experiences all during the session. In all the time I've done this I've never made up anything imaginary - all material is real-world sourced, and the girls/women are the sources.

And i ask their permission to use their contributions (anonymously) in all future work. They feel a huge boost because they become a part of the future classes. And if they say No, its honored with a smile and gratitude that they shared it with me and a verbal committment to respect their choice (modeling, modeling) They can take back their card or watch me tear it up.
Doing it this way means:
* shy girls don't feel exposed/vulnerable - much more honest questions because nobody else can roll their eyes, ridicule or look shocked
* privacy is protected: even with a caring adult present and sometimes _because_ their adult is there, girls don't speak up.
Doing 'talk to my ear' and cards makes it hugely less overwhelming to ask about/tell about really uncomfortable stuff. Its proved priceless with every age group. And I keep the cards (unless she wants it back) so I can develop new stuff.

# For 6-7 years I encourage, almost to the point of requiring that the adult OF THEIR CHOICE comes to the class or talks to me in advance, reads the pre-class material (written or e-mail). I get a signed release or child can't be in the class. I prefer they are right there. If a child needs a physical 'base touch' with that adult when scary stuff comes up, that is absolutely OK. Some kids sit on laps, some lean against legs or sit nxt to, some are within sight, some just want the adult there. I ask only that adults do silent reassurance, stay calm and silent and let me handle difficult moments. Because we have prior contact its a great step. I have to earn the trust of both adults and kids before the class, at least in part. That's one way. Its an enormously productive step. And the reassurance goes both ways.

Any girl or woman of any age can have any support person present in any session, as long as its their choice and the person follows my guidelines. No questions or sarcasm necessary. Never had a problem and I can see the relief. Also, they can bring anything, a stuffed lovey, a lucky charm, a picture of someone important with them, it just has to be kept close by, not in anyones way. Watching a 7 year old grip her stuffed elephant as she works up the courage asks me about something scary or whisper in my helper's ear is a huge lesson in bravery and the things that help people move out into a new place.

when they speak up or whisper (in those little girl voices that meekly ask) I feel honored to have their trust.

I'd like to know how Cyriacus, Twin Fist, Stevebjj, OKenpo942, oftheherd,WC-lun, KELLYG, MJs etc. do this with 6 year olds and how frequently they have this kind of session with 6-7 year old little girls.

thanks Georgia - so much thanks to you.
 

Carol

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I'm thinking - the Q&A session or the roundup at the end of the session is usually held in the middle of the gym and sometimes those little girl voices that meekly ask, "is rape when a boy puts his weenie in your butt?" might not carry back to the adults, so they hear my booming voice and assume I'm the one bringing it up.

I'm thinking they want someone to teach their kids how to use voices and say NO a million times but never have to experience any pain whatsoever.

I think people don't understand the difference between pain and injury.

I think people think they are doing the right thing by their kids by not exposing them to undesirable content too early. And truthfully, as a parent now, that IS a fine line to walk, folks. I erred on the side of giving my kids TOO much information, right up to the EW factor and then backed off. They sometimes still roll their eyes at me. At least my son has thanked me (of his own volition) for being honest and truthful about this kind of thing.

I don't know much about teaching children, or being a parent. But as an engineer, I like data. Rape victims are young. Many are under 18. Few are over 30. The younger the minor is, the greater the likelyhood that the child will be raped by someone they know. Tact is not my strong suit, but if there is a way to tactfully discuss this with parents, perhaps they may see more about why this is important?
 

aedrasteia

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I don't know much about teaching children, or being a parent. But as an engineer, I like data. Rape victims are young. Many are under 18. Few are over 30. The younger the minor is, the greater the likelyhood that the child will be raped by someone they know. Tact is not my strong suit, but if there is a way to tactfully discuss this with parents, perhaps they may see more about why this is important?

Carol

could you try that with martial arts/sd instructors?? They are so completely in denial about reality for girls, boys and teens
I sometimes just despair - there is usually very little in their classes that connects to what actually happens for 90-95% of us.

Parents know. even if they seem obtuse, believe me they know. I cannot describe how sickened they are and embarrassed by their own flailing around and how defensive and confused. they respond very well to quiet clarity, respect, and the assumption that this stuff is really hard for us all. what shows on the surface is often a hard cover for something else. hmmm maybe thats true for MA/SD instructors too, but the latter group presents themselves as reliable experts.

What many parents get, so often (see the posts on this thread) is contempt, ridicule and being dismissed as idiots, neglectful or ostriches.

nobody is helped, but i guess it feels better to quickly blow off people instead of doing the hard, challenging work of learning how to actually help them

thanks Carol
 

Tez3

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One thing that I've learned is that handouts given to kids don't always (maybe hardly ever) make it to parents -- even if given to the kids directly in front of the parents. And if they're just a stack with directions to pick one up as you go out... they seldom even get picked up. And that's with adults or kids.

I don't recommend bringing parents onto the floor as demonstration partners ..........................................


Oh the temptation of having a parent to throw around etc!
 
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Never_A_Reflection

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Well, it took me some time but I went through this entire thread (some of it twice) and I have to say that I applaud your efforts, Shesulsa. As a mudansha-ranked assistant instructor, a man who has only been a victim of bullying and as someone without any children, yet, I'm afraid I don't have much to offer to the discussion on any front, but I wanted to at least offer my support. You are doing good work and I hope that it works out for you and everyone else involved in the end.
 
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shesulsa

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Many of us spend a significant amount of time in discussion about the misconception of violence and all its elements - it's our business (either professional or amateur) after all, so it's easy to see how quickly we can judge people who *want* to do the right thing by their children but are *afraid* of what that really means.

I don't disagree, but I also think the protective factor we need to break through is much stronger than anticipated. Some parents simply won't be advised.

What we need to also talk about with them is grooming and THAT is a far trickier conversation to have with children than it is to have with parents.
 
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shesulsa

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I still haven't heard anything from the other mother who claimed that the girls thought the self-defense class was endorsing them to not be "nice."
 

oftheherd1

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...

I'd like to know how Cyriacus, Twin Fist, Stevebjj, OKenpo942, oftheherd,WC-lun, KELLYG, MJs etc. do this with 6 year olds and how frequently they have this kind of session with 6-7 year old little girls.

thanks Georgia - so much thanks to you.

Well I didn't get back to this thread sooner. Sorry, I almost missed this.

Personally, I have not given self defense classes. I have raised two daughters, taught sunday school to all ages of children, worked on bus church, and taught Hapkido to a couple or three kids. Especially in sunday school, or bus church, you would be surprised at some of the questions asked. Some are asked for sensationalism, some out of real knowledge seeking. Regardless, they have to be answered some way. Some are inappropriate to the venue and that is the answer, some must be answered based on Bible principles, or referred to a parent or cleric.

You appear to have some extensive training and experience. Mine above may seem quite inadequate compared to you, but it has served me and as far as I can tell, the children, well. If a violation of law is provided to me, I must pass it on to the church person in charge. That is law since I am not a cleric, but a lay-person.

If I were asked intimate sexual things, I would normally encourage them to talk to a parent, or if they feel they cannon, agree to provide another adult from the church. That has not yet happened. It is not the focus of our interaction and not encouraged. But I never get embarrased and lock up no matter what the question or report. Kids see through that sort of thing pretty quickly and you lose respect and raport.

If that doesn't answer you question, please feel free to ask more questions.
 
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shesulsa

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UPDATE:

The woman who echoed the concerns who promised to write me directly never did write to voice her specific concerns, so I have been unable to have that discussion.

Tonight I am the guest speaker at the Girl Scout Service Unit volunteer meeting where I get to sell the case for self-defense to adult women, leaders and potentially parents. Not sure what to expect, but I AM curious about the waning interest in the class.

I promise to return with the most honest feedback I can give, and we can continue this discussion.
 

jks9199

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The waning interest is probably due to a simple thing: rock-the-boat-itis. A couple of people voiced vague concerns; had they actually worked with you about those concerns, you could have done something -- but the visible leadership is doing the simplest approach: drop it and don't rock the boat.
 
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shesulsa

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They must have forgotten I was coming - I had three minutes to talk and the main guest speaker was ... not me. No parents were there, just the core leaders who attend all the time. Got good feedback on past seminars I've already done. So I gave some statistics, explained what I do, brought the sample pamphlets (no one looked at them).

Got applause. I dunno. I think it's the parents who are concerned, not so much the leaders - and given all they already have to deal with, I don't blame them for not wanting to push the event.

I might do a vlog-style video intended for parents and put it on my website.

Thoughts?
 

thegatekeeper

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You can understand where the parent is coming from, but regardless these things are good to know. There are some sick people out there that don't care about age or gender unfortunately.
 
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