Do kids really have that much trouble committing to things in today’s world?
Could it be parents that really have commitment issues and kids are adopting their habits?
This hypothesis might not be a popular one, but I feel my perspective has a lot of validity. After teaching martial arts for 25 years and being a parent for over 15 years, I have seen and been guilty of the good, bad and the ugly.
For example, we had a martial arts student quit two weeks away from earning his Black Belt, that is not ok. However, the young man’s parents did not seem to really be concerned about long term habits this might lead to.
KIDS DO NOT SEE THE BIG PICTURE: Children are not mentally capable of seeing the pros and cons their choices will have on their futures. Many scientists have said the frontal lobe in a young person does not fully develop until you are 25 years old. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls important cognitive skills in humans like emotional expression, problem solving, memory, and judgement just to name a few.
There is a reason kids have parents making most of their decisions in life. Our job is to make these decisions in the best interest of our child’s long term success and development.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIKE DOING IT, BUT YOU STILL NEED TO KNOW HOW: Working with young kids, teenagers and adults, I have realized there are lots of reasons people quit things or do not even get started. Very few of these reasons are good or justifiable in my opinion.
For example, very few people like speaking in front of others or confrontation. However, it is a skill that is important and has to be learned. Parents stepping in talking with teachers, coaches, writing their kids book reports, doing their science projects and writing their speeches will have “zero” positive returns in your child’s future.
You still need to guide your child, help them practice and role play, but always doing the work for them is not the solution.
WHEN DID BEING A PARENT BECOME CONVENIENT? Sounds rough? It is. Being a parent is not an easy thing. I once thought it gets easier when your children get older. Not necessarily, it just becomes different.
Take short cuts, let your child skip practice, accept little effort in school, allow poor food choices and assume PE is enough exercise for them to keep their mind and body healthy… and soon these habits will most likely carry on to their future as an adult.
FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED; DON’T GIVE UP AFTER ONE FAILURE: Life is about failing, learning, growing, failing, learning, growing and eventually succeeding. However, most give up too soon. It took Steve Martin 15 years to finally make it as a comedian…15 years! Your kids need to finish the season, attend more than one tournament to be a true competitor, earn their first Black Belt, practice public speaking, keep writing and the list could go on.
Most people are great not because they were talented, they were great because they didn’t quit. Isn’t it strange that the “most talented” ones practice and train more than the average ones. Maybe they aren’t that talented after all, they just have a stronger work ethic that others don’t have.
Parents remember, it is our job to help our kids be successful based on their definition of the word. Whatever success means in their mind, we might not ever know until they become an adult, but we should not do anything that might inhibit their learning process if we can help it.
We will make mistakes, but we can be honest and all learn together. I know I am still learning everyday. Unfortunately, learning comes in many forms and sometimes it “ain’t pretty.”
Good luck parents and remember we are all on the same team with the same goal, help our children’s dreams come true!
If you are interested in contacting Brad Fantle for speaking engagements you may reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is a 7th Degree Black Belt with Tiger Rock Martial Arts, has 25 years experience working with children and teaching self-defense, an Optavia Health Coach and has a BA in Sports & Fitness from the University of Alabama.