Friday, January 23, 2009

Mojo Mom and Kidpower North Carolina


Mojo Mom author Amy Tiemann brings Kidpower self-defense training to North Carolina

Last spring I began to ask myself "What's next?" after Mojo Mom. I was hoping to get a book deal for a revised edition, which has worked out miraculously well so far, but I still wanted to peek over the horizon to start something new.

The answer was that I still hope there will be a ton of writing in my life, and much more to do as "Mojo Mom," but I also felt a calling to bring child safety and self-defense training to my community. Before I was Mojo Mom, I started an endeavor I called Spark Seminars, in which I taught self-defense strategies to parents, which they would then pass along to their kids. The kernel I started with was knowing that if parents could become their children's most powerful safety advocates, a lifelong discussion and culture of safety awareness would develop within families. I wrote my own curriculum, based on my years working with teenagers teaching psychology, and studying about influence, coercion, and other principals of social psychology. I knew that all too often, the weapon used by abusers to get us to let our guard down was our own "niceness," and that kids needed to develop awareness and boundary-setting skills, as well as physical self-defense skills. Parents needed to learn how to identify situations that needed extra scrutiny, as well as how to think about issues such as how to choose a babysitter or school for their children.

I really enjoyed teaching these parent seminars, but back in 2002, the time was not right in my life for this project. I thought I was creating a teaching job, but it came along a marketing and outreach job that I wasn't prepared to do. So I put that on hold and wrote the original Mojo Mom.

But like all true callings, the cause of child safety and abuse prevention came back into my life. I decided that instead of working alone, it was time to team up with Kidpower, an internationally-respected safety non-profit I knew of from my time living in California. Kidpower has an excellent Everyday Safety kids' curriculum as well as physical self-defense training and adult education.

Kidpower was started by a Mom in 1989, and since then the training has reached over a million people worldwide. Kidpower is both solid and constantly innovating, revising their training every year to make it even better. That's the kind of organization I was eager to team up with!

So for the past two years, I've been working in trips to California to do Kidpower instructor training. I've taught practice classes, and recruited a co-teacher here at home. I spent another week at training this month, and now we are really ready to launch Kidpower North Carolina.

The great thing about Kidpower is that we're teaching life skills, giving kids the tools and confidence they need to move safely in the world. Our training is always positive, success-based, and age-appropriate. To me, Kidpower is the antidote to "helicopter parenting." Most parents weren't taught safety skills themselves, much less how to teach these skills to their kids. So no wonder we don't always know how to let our kids go when the time comes. That's a gap in parent education that I want to fill with meaningful information. (Similar to what I did with Mojo Mom, which I thought of as writing the "missing manual to motherhood," so there's a theme developing that connects these projects!)

We will be offering a winter series of public Kidpower workshops over the next month. Starting January 31 and running through March, on Saturday afternoons we'll be offering a Parent-Child Workshop for kids grade 1-3, then grades 4-6, then a Teenpower class, and finally in March, a Parent Education night. The Parent Education seminar addresses issues that are relevant to parenting kids of all ages. I will be personally teaching each of these workshops.

So if you are in the Raleigh-Durham area, I'd love to have you join us for a training! Check out our schedule, and you can reach me through kidpowernc@gmail.com if you need more information.

You can also see photos I posted from this month's Kidpower instructor training at our brand-new Kidpower North Carolina Facebook page.

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