Many parents are well intentioned when it comes to their kids. Sometimes however, their desire to please them can work against their favor.
Lets imagine two sets of parents who both carry a considerable amount of care for their child yet go about it in entirely different ways.
One parent, loves their child so much that they go out of their way to satisfy each and every one of their desires to a point where the child emerges from adolescence carrying the belief that they can get their way all the time. This parent also avoids conflict and uncomfortable situations where their kid will cry, scream and throw tantrums to avoid something they don’t like. After all, they don’t want to make their child unhappy…
Another parent, loves their child so much that they prepare them for the world ahead, teaching them the meaning of “no”, that acting out will not get them their way, learning to listen and be respectful to elders and many other difficult lessons at the cost of being liked or loved, albeit momentarily. This parent will not let their own comfort get in the way of the crucial lesson that must be learned.
As a youth BJJ instructor, the majority of kids tend to fall under the guidance of the first parent and understandably so. It is natural to want to bestow love and gifts upon your children but rarely do we see cases where it has been in the form of respect and discipline. “Spare the rod, spoil the child”.
Kids will be kids and it’s only natural for them to have a short attention span, lack focus, not listen well (many adults are this way too), and other characteristics that will not serve them well later in life. Without a parent to act as a teacher, rewarding good behavior and correcting bad behavior they will often end up like many of the kids who burst into hysterical tears on the mats, frantically screaming “No!” because that’s how they usually get their way.
If you are interested in your child’s BJJ journey to begin receiving the many benefits that Martial Arts has offered over centuries, start by understanding that it is not easy to develop the habits you wish for your child’s success in life. It will require you to be steadfast regardless of the tactic your child employs to get their way. There will be tears along the way. As much as we love to see the happiness on a child’s face, we know that their future is dependent on learning many of the tough lessons that we adults had to learn. In the words of Jocko Wilink, “Discipline equals freedom.”. Truer words have never been said, but it takes a strong man and woman to carry them out.