You see the smile on your child’s face from ear to ear. Their eyes follow the instructor as they speak and move. It seems like ever word said is inputed in your child’s brain like entering data into a computer. The class is over, your child comes running to you and says, “I want to come everyday!”
Fast forward 6 months and you cannot get them into the car for class. “It is not fun anymore,” is probably one of the most used phrases by kids before they officially quit an activity. But what are they really saying and what has changed?
First, you should know a child’s frontal lobe of their brain does not fully develop until they are 25. Some adult’s frontal lobe might not have ever fully developed. The frontal lobe is responsible for communication and expressing feelings. Your child stating an activity has lost its excitement, is most likely code for something else. They might be having a physical or mental challenge from a new skill, a feeling of inadequacy or maybe a social challenge with another student.
Peel back as many layers as you can to get to the real reason they are feeling the way they are.
Second, kids have a very short term memory and don’t see ahead (frontal lobe development again), so you have to remind them with images, videos and other symbols that spark those memories and the excitement of continuing. Videos of successes and goals are one of the most valuable sources you can use.
Your child earns a new belt in martial arts, take a video of them receiving it, talking about how proud they are and what their next goal or belt is. This works for dance and other activities too.
Remember, parents have to parent, and it is our responsibility not to take the path of least resistance and give up without a fight. The experiences our kids develop in their younger years has a large impact in their future.
Third, do not let your child give up or quit on a never experience. Why? Emotional decisions are often bad decisions. When you are emotional, logic and reason usually fall at the way side and we do things that are most often regretted later. If someone truly wants to quit, have them make the decision when they are on top, overcame an obstacle or just accomplished a goal. If they still want to exit then you know it is not emotional.
Parents, try these strategies and most likely you will avoid a lot of dead end battles and conversations. Kids need guidance and they like all of us, need a push. If you need someone in your corner, let your children’s coaches and other positive role models get more involved. Be proactive and talk with them in the beginning of the journey, do not wait until there is a problem!
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 ADHD Coach and has a BA in Sports & Fitness from the University of Alabama