As you know, being a parent has many challenges. One of the most challenging questions is when should you be hard on your child, enforce discipline and when should you just support them?
Why is this such a difficult question?
First, there are a lot of factors to consider.
The age of your child makes a huge difference. If you are very strict on them at a certain age, you might affect their confidence and ability to try new challenges.
Wait too long, and your child will have a false sense of reality with less chance of pushing through failures in life.
What is the answer? Is there a correct one?
Raising kids is not as black and white as math homework, unfortunately. The answer is not as easy as just “3”.
Here are some ideas to help you get the best of both worlds.
FIND YOUR CHILD A MARTIAL ARTS INSTRUCTOR, COACH OR MENTOR:
Before you starting getting thoughts in your head, no, you are not looking for someone else to raise your child. However, as parents, there is an emotional tie in our relationship with our kids. This changes how we view each other as opposed to an outside person. This does not mean there is a lack of respect, just a different form of respect between parents and their kids.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A MENTOR FOR YOUR KIDS?
- Find someone who is tough but fair. A good mentor needs to hold your child accountable for everything, but not be a bully. Your mentor might give a punishment or choose not to meet with your child if they aren’t prepared or did not finish their assignment. However, they shouldn’t chastise them for not completing their assignment, but excuses are usually not acceptable either.
- A good mentor will compliment your child when they have little “wins” and call them on things when they are making mistakes
- You want a mentor that is good at communicating with you in a “team” like manner and is happy to support what you want.
- The proper mentor will call you out as well. Yes, parents need to be called out as well if are not following the plan you both set in motion.
- Mentors should walk their own walk, and talk their own talk. If they aren’t doing what they asked your child to do, they are not the right candidate for the job.
As a parent myself, I understand it can be tough. But after teaching children, teens and adults martial arts for over 25 years, I have realized a good mentor must train the parents as much or more than training the actual students.
Teaching independence, work ethic, creativity, no fear of failure and making others feel like part of the team often goes a lot farther than the actual skill being taught.
One of my favorite sayings that I often have to remind myself of is “Focus on the root, not the fruit.” Your definition of success and learning specific skills are often bi-products of building the proper foundation or “roots”.
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.