Timing is Everything, with Children

When teaching and raising children, one of the most challenging things is to figure out which approach to use, and at what moment. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that too much of one has the possibility of creating longer term issues. For example:

--Too much freedom could lead to not respecting boundaries.

--Too much control could lead to a lack of self confidence.

--Too little consequences could lead to lack of awareness of what their actions means for others or themselves.

--Too many consequences could lead to someone who does just enough to not get punished. 

--Too much criticism with not enough praise can lead to a lot of self doubt.

--Too much praise with not enough constructive feedback can lead to a false confidence.

Bribery, humiliation, being hands-off, and endless positive praise have their moments of short term results, but might not be the best strategy for the long term.

So what is the right answer? Well, in martial arts, you have many techniques to deal with situations. But using a certain technique at the wrong time is the wrong technique. For example, if I try to do the technique for escaping a wrist grab against someone who is choking my neck, that's the wrong technique!! 

There are some moments when you need to be hands off, let them make their own mistakes. There are other moments when you need to be hands on, and teach/remind. There will be some moments where in order to get a task done where bribery could be effective. There will be other moments where you have to have them understand that getting the task done is a non-negotiable, and failure to do so will result in a consequence. There will be some moments where you want pump the praise, and not give much attention to what needs fixing. There will be other moments where you need to give more attention to what needs fixing than the praise.

It's all a balancing act. We want children who can take their own initiative, make good choices, learn from the mistakes, but have the confidence to keep moving forward. We want positive children who are able to deal with and learn from negative situations.

But don't stay too much in one place. Sometimes, it is tempting to stay with one main default way because it is the most comfortable. This calls for more mindfulness, and be open to sometimes changing the way you respond to your child. Yin and Yang! 

The most skilled martial arts teachers can meet you where you're at, and give you the perfect exercise to get you to the incremental next step. What that requires is an acute awareness, sensitivity, and deep understanding of where the student is, as far as techniques, ability, mindset, and belief in one's self. 

As a teacher, one might tend to develop this ability with students. But it is much harder to do as a parent. Chances are, we've not received training for this, and even if we have, it is more difficult with our own children because we might not always be "on" for our kids as we might be for students, employees, clients, etc.

So there is always movement, it is always shifting. And that is what we provide at Austin Kung-Fu Academy for our Adults Flow class, where you are being given situation after situation after situation to respond to, and your job is to work at bringing the correct response to the situation.

As parents, I feel like you could benefit tremendously from our Adults classes. Not only is it a great stress reliever, but you start realizing and developing your ability shift from technique to technique based on whatever I give you.