I don’t know about you but when I used to think of the word ‘boxing’, I would automatically think of Rocky Balboa, burly men, fighting and bloody noses.
However over the last few months I have seen a different side of boxing, the respect, discipline and dedication side of it.
My teenage daughter is 13. She has been displaying aggressive behaviour since she was 10. She has a short temper which led to her regularly trashing her bedroom, headbutting walls, screaming and crying. At one point she was self harming. She didn’t know how to let out her feelings any other way.
One of things BB does is ‘fixate’ on things, a year ago the films Rocky became her fixation. She went on and on about wanting to start boxing to become Rocky.
With BB, fixations come and go after several months and so after a while the films fizzled out but her wanting to box didn’t. Mr B and I decided that we would try and find a boxing gym that would be suitable for BB. She isn’t someone who will easily talk to another person who isn’t an immediate family member or close friend, she won’t give you eye contact and very often she comes across rude. She rarely shows any emotion that isn’t rage so you’ve no idea what is going on in her head.
She was diagnosed with ASD when she was 11, some of the difficulties for BB is how to let out her emotions and cope with change and stress. Like any teen, hormones are off the radar at the moment and it’s like treading on egg shells around her. It was steadily getting worse. CAMHS said they couldn’t do anything.
We did find a boxing gym eventually back in November. BB and I visited the gym and I spoke to the man who runs it about BB’s difficulties. It didn’t bother him at all and said she could try it out for a few lessons and see how she felt about it.
BB has never looked back. She goes twice a week and it’s the best thing we could of done. It has hugely reduced her aggressive behaviour, she seems to emotionally be handling things better and is becoming more confident at School. She is less snappy with her sister although siblings will always fight!
The thing about boxing is that actually its an independent sport so BB doesn’t really have to talk to anyone. Yes sometimes she has to ‘spa’ with another person but she doesn’t have to really look at them face on or talk. It’s a perfect sport for her that she enjoys.
Not only is boxing teaching BB many life skills like respect, listening, confidence and resilience but also self defense. There have been times where she has said ‘mum I need to go boxing tonight, I feel really wound up’. She releases it all at boxing! On the days she doesn’t go, BB does skipping with a skipping rope as a way for her to vent off steam on a tough day. She has learnt this from boxing too.
LB has started kick boxing at the same place but on different days/times as her aggression at home has started to increase too. LB was diagnosed ASD last year. She has been with me when BB boxes and has become interested in the kick boxing side. She used to dance, she used to love street dance, cheerleading, ballet and tap She has stopped that all to do kick boxing.
Boxing has been a real life changer for BB, I hope Kickboxing will do the same for LB.