Every once in a while you are going to hear your kids complain about going to classes when involved in the Martial Arts. It is the same as going to school in the morning or going to work. Some days we just don’t want to.
As a parent, you get tired of the battle and hearing your kids using phrases such as “I don’t like karate anymore?”, “I don’t want to go to class today” and “can I stay just stay home instead?” This causes the thought process that your kids are not enjoying it so they should be allowed to just quit.
However, before you agree to this you need to consider the reasons why they don’t want to do martial arts, and for that matter, any other sport. There are two main reasons why kids want to quit karate. Both of them have to do with a type of “fear”.
REASON 1. FEAR OF COMMITMENT
It was not too long ago when they started classes. A new uniform, new people, brand new belt and thoughts of being a real-life superhero. But after they start class, their enthusiasm drops. Their first few months they did burpees, push-ups, star jumps. Did some punches and kicks but they did not become a superhero and did not get their black belt. Maybe they have had a short holiday break. Now their enthusiasm drops but not their desire to achieve their goals. The desire is still there. They still do want to be a superhero or get their black belt. The problem is that they have not experienced INSTANT GRATIFICATION.
As adults, we get it. Nothing in life is simple and comes fast. Worthwhile things take time and effort. The question you still have though “is it worth pushing your kids to continue?”. The answer is not simple either: It depends. It all depends on the lesson that you want them to learn.
Assuming you are happy with the school, the instructors and you see other students achieve success then the only thing left to figure out is the ultimate goal.
QUALITY TAKES TIME AND EFFORT
Is the goal to teach them patience? Awesome. You should be teaching them this lesson. If this is the case then it is worth it to keep pushing them. Talk to your instructor before making a decision you might regret, and just because your kids want to quit karate. That’s not enough. Let the sensei’s know what the kids are going through and their lack of enthusiasm.
Your kids will mask this fear by saying phrases like:
“I don’t like the class anymore”
“I am bored, I don’t understand what they teach there”
“I rather play another sport”
Think about it like this: when YOU went to high school, college or beyond, did you like it all? Were you happy the whole time? Were there moments you did not understand a subject, things were not clear to you? Have you considered switching careers? Do you remember having doubts?
These feelings are very normal, but as adults, we know quality takes time and effort. Giving up too early will not pay off in the end. A good instructor has no issues with dealing with the knowledge that students may be struggling. It is their job.
PUT IT THIS WAY, NO ONE WILL GIVE YOU A CERTIFICATE ON GIVING UP OR QUITTING
But I am tired of hearing them whine about it. Trust your instructor. Talk to them about how the kids are feeling. Ask them for help and let them know that you have their back. The key is unity and a unified message being given.
When you signed your kids up there was a reason. A goal. Let your kids know their feelings are valid, and that they are simply experiencing fear of committing to a long term goal. The benefit will be there. When they finally achieve their black belt, you will hear the gratitude from them. they will not complain about you encouraging them to keep going. I have never met any blackbelt that regrets achieving it. A black belt is equivalent to saying “I don’t give up even when it gets challenging. I see it through.”
Think about it this way. What do you want to see that on an adults CV? Would you rather see “I never keep my promises.” and “When the going gets tough I just will quit.”
REASON 2: FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
Martial Arts is a team affair. We need the support of the sensei’s, the students and the parents. But what happens when you just let them go at the first sign of them getting bored? Do you want to teach them that when things get tough in life they can simply ask and expect you to bail them out? We can all agree that is probably not what we expect when they grow up.
If we all know these things will happen we want to make an agreement between the parents and students and instructors so everyone understands we are all in this together. The agreement is simple: we will guide you to your goal of being a black belt, but when you are tired you are not allowed to give up.
Many many things can change a child’s desire to train in the Martial Arts:
“They don’t like exercising”
“They don’t like someone else in the class”
“It is too hard”
“They don’t want to practice”
“They want to do another activity now that they will do for a short time and then leave it as well”
The difference between karate and other activities is that karate teaches you to be disciplined. The hardest part of having discipline is staying the course. So parents say “I want my child to learn to be more disciplined“, then let them quit which is, in fact, the complete opposite of what hey brought them to learn. Children don’t understand about staying on course for a long term goal. It is our jobs as parents and educators to show them.
“They have other activities [insert anything here] that are on at the same time.”. They could be football, rugby, dance, singing, etc. Guess what, this resembles life in general. You may have work, school, family, other commitments, and managing all these does not get easier, each one requires some part of your busy schedule. When working out the schedule of what they want to do ask yourself what you want them to learn. Now which activity best suits those lessons. Then make the time.
Showing our kids the meaning of Martial Arts will always be more valuable than letting them quit. No one ever learned anything from quitting, except that it is easy. Next time you hear about quitting it is a great opportunity to educate.