One of the biggest frustrations for parents of children in Taekwondo is when their child gives them a hard time about coming to class, or even worse, says they want to quit!
What makes this even more frustrating is that when the child comes to class, they are enthusiastic about their training and have a great time! They love it! “I don’t want my child to quit, they enjoy it when they’re here and it’s so good for them, but they fight me when it’s time to get ready for class. What can I do?” is a common question, especially during the summer months.
The first thing that parents need to keep in mind is that children often have difficulty scheduling their time effectively. And once they become engaged in an activity, they won’t want to stop for anything... even something they would normally enjoy. My advice is to help your child to schedule their time before classes in a way that avoids activities your child will not want to stop, such as swimming, playing outside with friends, or playing video games. Instead, allow them time to prepare for class mentally and physically by getting their uniform and equipment together, practicing their techniques, and having a small snack. Another great tip is to commit to a regular routine and schedule of class attendance.
The second part of the answer is to understand that we live in a society of “instant gratification”. Children are growing up with a “I want it now” attitude that will not prepare them for success later on in life. We are not willing to invest the time to achieve maximum results. I want it now, it is owed to me, everyone has one so I deserve one too! When something becomes difficult, children don’t understand how to persevere. They are told that if they don’t like something, they don’t have to do it. Many parents are literally teaching their children to be quitters from a very young age. "If you do not like it, then quit". This is the biggest mistake you can make with your children.
I often speak with parents who feel that Taekwondo would be of tremendous benefit to their child, but they do not want to ‘force’ them to come. Children learn very early on, what they can get away with. If you set a level of expectation for their development, they will follow your lead.
What if your child woke up one morning and said “I don’t want to go to school anymore and I want to quit”, would you let them? Of course not!
The truth is that while training in Taekwondo is fun, sometimes it is difficult as well. The higher they get in grade, the more challenging it becomes! Students have problems with a technique or a pattern, and instead of working hard to overcome it and learn the values of hard work, they want to give up. When your child says “I want to quit”, " I don't like it", what are they really saying? And if we allow them to give up, what are we teaching them? What do you want your child to be like when they grow up?
Remember, "A WINNER NEVER QUITS AND A QUITTER NEVER WINS"!
We need to lead our children, not be led by them. Parenting is a full-time job that can be extremely frustrating, difficult, and confusing. But if you’re not teaching your child, who is?
The best thing for children is to be involved in an activity like Martial Arts, that assists in their growth and development. A program that will teach them the values of hard work and perseverance. A program that will teach them how to set goals but most importantly, how to achieve these goals!
Then set the standard that once they sign up, they need to attend, without complaining, and that quitting is not an option until the goals you have set for your child have been reached (next competition, next grading...). I can guarantee you that when they get their brand new belt or do well in competition, they suddenly feel a lot more enthusiastic about their training! Always remember that in a Taekwondo school, we NEVER GIVE UP! If your child is giving you a hard time about coming to class, speak to your instructor. They can help to reinforce the importance of coming to class and to discover any problems your child might be having.
Don’t forget that A BLACK BELT IS JUST A WHITE BELT WHO NEVER GAVE UP!