A Parent's Role


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A Parent's Role

Today’s parents are soft.

 

“Ouch! Right out of the gate Mr. C?”

 

I’m sorry, but after two decades working with parents and as a parent myself I know this to be true. When I was a kid we rode bikes up to 20 miles away without helmets, or knee and elbow pads. We built tree houses and forts with booby traps to hurt our friends. We got stitches regularly. One kid in our friend group was wearing a cast at all times. We played video games that could not be “beaten.” They simply got tougher or faster until you inevitably died. We weren’t just disciplined. We were often hit with whatever the nearest wieldable object was whether it be a wooden spoon, flip-flop, belt, or 2x4. We received paddlings in school. After 25 years I can still feel the day I happened to be wearing nylon windbreaker pants.

 

Today’s parents would never allow their children to do any of those things. Now I promise this is not a blog bemoaning the changing times. I love progress. In fact, many of the things we did in the 70’s & 80’s are borderline criminal and should have probably never happened in the first place. I think that many of these changes are absolutely necessary for an evolving society.  However, I think we can all agree that as parents are taking a more caring, concerned approach to raising their children their children are missing out on some of the skills that come with risk, independence, pain, and adventure.

 

“So what does this have to do with martial arts training Mr. C?”

 

I’m glad you asked. Martial arts training with us gives today’s children the discipline, structure, and life-skill building that we got naturally when we were younger. They develop a positive peer group. They learn to be physically and mentally tough. They learn to set goals, strive for success, and deal with failure and disappointment. They gain confidence and an independent spirit. They learn to believe in themselves and their abilities.  This sounds like a parents’ wish list right? But we can’t do it alone.

 

Most children will receive these skills naturally through training, but with their parents’ help the benefits are greatly increased and last a life-time. So what can parents do to help their child develop positive life-changing skills?

 

Here’s my top five list:

1) Trust the instructors with the teaching. Our instructor team is the best in the business. They know taekwondo. They know how to take a white belt and get them to black belt and beyond. They know child physiology and psychology. In short, trust us to teach, lead, and inspire. Trust us to discipline, correct, and motivate. Trust us and our program.

 

2) Be positive. You be your child’s biggest fan. Always praise and support. Always be encouraging. Always smile and hug and give a thumbs up. Leave the correction and instruction to us.

 

3) Bring them to class. When they inevitably get bored or don’t want to come to class bring them anyway. “Well, I don’t want to make her do it if she doesn’t want to.” Sure you do. She doesn’t want to go to school, but you make her because she needs an education. She doesn’t want to eat anything except poptarts, but you make her because she needs proper nutrition. She doesn’t want to go to bed at a proper time, but you make her because her growing body needs rest. We make our children do things all the time simply because as adults we know the long-term benefits. Remember that parents’ wish list earlier? I promise we can deliver that, but only if you get your child to class.

 

4) Don’t let them back away from a challenge. Taekwondo is hard. Don’t let them shrink in the face of adversity. We recently had a parent who allowed their child to quit after not passing a belt testing. (Yes, our students often do not pass rank advancements.) When he didn’t pass he was upset, obviously. His mom was disappointed, of course. However, by allowing him to quit instead of encouraging him to work hard and continue toward his goals she effectively taught him that when things are difficult or don’t go your way it’s ok to stop trying. Is that what you want for your child?

 

5) Talk to us about your child. As your child’s martial arts instructors we need to know about their hopes and dreams. We need to know about their successes and failures. We need to know about their physical ailments. We need to know when they are discouraged or highly motivated. We need to know if they are getting bored or frustrated. Remember we are experts in child psychology. Let us help. Parents often don’t come to us until it’s too late.

 

BONUS

6) Participate in as many events as possible.  Tournaments, camps, parent night outs, fundraisers, pool parties, award ceremonies, and lock-ins are all very instrumental in the development of young martial artists. Each event gives them an opportunity to grow and develop the skills we are desiring. These events are rarely about martial arts skill. They instead serve as motivators, friend developers, and are just plain fun. 


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