Being a tween can be hard stuff.
The “inbetween” years, when you’re not old enough to be a teenager whose running around with tons of freedom and lots of excitement but you’re too old to be a little kid, well they’re just hard years. Those ten-eleven-twelves when your body hasn’t’ caught up with your brain and no one seems to take you seriously are some of the most challenging times of growing up.
Helping tweens to find their way in the world isn’t an easy task, but it’s one that parents know is so important in order for their kids to thrive.
Fencing is a wonderful way to help older kids find their way, even as they navigate the middle years. How? Here are six of the biggest issues for tweens, plus ways that fencing can help your middle schooler to combat those same issues.
- Feeling helpless
One of the biggest things that middle school kids complain about is that they feel helpless in life. They have just this dash of being on their own but without a great deal of actual responsibility. They know that they have the potential to be responsible, but they don’t know how to take control.
Fencing is an empowering sport. It’s just hard to feel small and helpless when you’ve got a sword in your hand! We see this again and again in the club – fencing helps kids to feel in control of themselves and in control of the world as they progress forward.
- Lack of balance
Academic work can become overwhelming out of nowhere for middle school students. Tweens need to have a balance of physical exertion to release that kid energy that they still have going on with all that academic work. The physical will actually really help them to clarify the mental!
Fencing is a perfect physical activity because it isn’t just physical – it’s a live action chess match. Kids learn problem solving skills and mental engagement while exploring kinetic movement when they’re fencing, and it’s a whole nother level of physical and mental stimulation, one that can feed their ability to focus academically as well as to find balance.
- Temptation for negative behaviors
There I a serious new temptation when kids move into middle school to start to experiment with all kinds of activities that they never would have thought of before. This is nothing new – the fight to deal with massive amount of new temptation for tweens is a cliché among parents.
The thing is, fencing keeps them busy and surrounded by kids and adults who are a positive influence on their lives. Those negative behaviors never get to come to the top as long as kids are surrounded by positive influences. In fact, they get heaps of positive attention as they learn to master the skills of fencing. Truly, there’s just not a need to look elsewhere for something to make life feel interesting when you’ve got something as fun as fencing to get your adrenaline pumping!
- Social drama
Ah, the joy of tweenie social games We all remember our days in middle school, when every relationship was just hugely important and all of life hinged on the opinions of the kids around us. For tweens, that entrance into the social drama of middle school can be extraordinarily challenging. Bullying becomes a much bigger issue during the middle school years.
Fencing offers a positive, warm and caring place to grow and learn with other kids their age and with adults and older kids. These relationships become a positive force within the social drama that can spin out of control during the middle school years. It offers kids a foundational place to come find self-worth and a sense of belonging, even if they don’t feel that way when they’re in school.
- Need for self-exploration
Tweens are eager to search out their place in the world, and fencing gives them a great place to begin looking. Understand that this isn’t just about exploring another physical activity, fencing is a way to unleash a passion for life. The intensity of swordfighting is almost primal, and it lends itself to a greater understanding of who we are as people, what our limitations are and what we are capable of.
Fencing is a perfect vehicle for self-exploration in tweens, encouraging them to feel confident in their ability to contribute to the world and to be an active participant in their own destiny. More than any other benefit, the confidence that comes with learning to fence is a central boost for middle schoolers.
This is really only a sampling of the benefits that tweens get from fencing. In fact there are so many more ways that fencing can help tweens to find their way in the world, so many more ways that they can be built up by this incredible sport.
Fencing is great for both tween boys and for tween girls, offering them the tool that they need to feel confident and secure in who they are and in who they can become. What’s even more amazing is that fencing is something that can grow with these kids, a passion that they can continue through high school and beyond.
Starting fencing in middle school allows kids to build a strong foundation of sportsmanship, grit, self-esteem, friendship, independence, self-sufficiency and more. In those years when it can seem as though everything in life is out of control, fencing offers a soft place to land and a firm rock to stand on.