What to do when your child wants to give up…

I’ve been teaching children martial arts for over ten years now.  Something I’ve regularly come across is children, who suddenly have the notion for whatever reason, they want to quit and give up on the martial arts. They want to go and play football or whatever, and the parent’s thinking they’re doing right by their child by giving into their child’s request, before thinking about the repercussions of their actions. If a child learns from an early age that giving up is okay and acceptable, what is there to stop this attitude becoming more prevalent?

This knee-jerk reaction of “It’s too hard, I can’t do it anymore”. This will affect the child in their adult lives every time the individual is met with adversity. Children look to adults for guidance, they only do as they see us doing and if you show them that “giving up is fine and not to worry about it” you are doing them an injustice, you’re enabling this behaviour. Children need to develop fortitude so that when they are inevitably faced with challenges in their life they have the tools to overcome it.

The martial arts is the perfect catalyst to help them develop these all-important tools which will stand for them years down the line. It’s important to also remember that progression in the martial arts happens slowly and requires dedication, nurturing and perseverance. It’s much like the mighty oak trees life cycle.

First the oak exists as a tiny acorn, then as a seedling where it works on developing good, strong, deep roots to ensure its existence long into the future, next it becomes a young oak tree where it is still sensitive to damage from the outside world but has become stronger and must receive as much nurturing as possible from Mother nature at this stage in its existence to have a chance at succeeding in its ultimate goal of being a fully grown oak some day.

Eventually Mother nature’s investment of hard work, perseverance and love pays off, when after hundreds of years the young oak has now grown slowly but surely (and even though only growing just a little bit every day) the oak still manages to develop into a tall, powerful force in the forest which now protects others in need of shelter, food and a home just like a time when nature  provided it with protecting and nurturing.

It’s a cycle of life and it’s what you’ll do for your child if you gently encourage them to continue through adversity… Dedicated exponents of the martial arts will inevitably become, protectors and achievers, that’s something you cannot say about any other sport or discipline in the world. Yes, Martial arts is hard, both mentally and physically. This is why correct martial arts training forges strong-willed individuals who go on to succeed in their chosen given professions.

When you decide to push through the especially tough training/times, by continuing on through the pain, the sweat (and sometimes the tears) you become a stronger version of yourself every single time you decide you’re not going to give up.

So parents LISTEN UP…

It’s a matter of “when” and  not “if”  your child wants to give up on something, please listen to them, they need to be listened to, that’s all they want to a lot of the time, to have a voice:) arrange to meet up with their coach and explain the situation. Then between you the coach and your child/children, you can attempt to work out something that continues to encourage your child to maintain their training in the martial arts.

Following the meeting with your child/children’s coach you can sit down with your child one to one and explain all of the good things about continuing on in the martial arts and how it will benefit them in the months and years that follow this feeling of wanting to quit and how he/she will look back at this point in time and be grateful that they themselves made the decision not to give up and how proud of themselves they’ll feel. Then praise them for it once they’re back training a few days and keep doing it… 😉

Later on in life that one moment in time that you sat down to address that situation with your child may very well be the difference between them securing a career for themselves and deciding to throw in the towel because things got too tough.

So if this has stirred anything in you, or you like the sound of what we do at Mugendo Martial Arts Academy?  Are interested in attending an introductory class… please get in contact with me by using the number 085 786 2812 or alternatively, use our contact form by clicking here.

Yours in the martial arts,

Fergal Lawlor

5th-degree black belt Mugendo Martial Arts Academy.