by Rose Smith, martial arts instructor at Modern Warriors Jujitsu, Ryde
Being a martial arts instructor, I am a big fan of practising Martial Arts in order to develop personal and physical confidence. I don’t think anything can beat it. Here are some fantastic tips for parents who want to raise confident, happy, resilient children. Best of all- you can do it at home!!!
1. Praise, correct, praise
Sounds simple and it is. When your child is doing something and giving it their best shot, don’t tell them what they are doing wrong. Praise them. “Ella! You’re doing a great job with the vacuum cleaner! Nice one!” then, if they need a little correction, you can ask them if they would like a little help. “I can see you are having a bit of trouble with that corner! Do you know if you put this attachment on the end of the vac you will be able to get into all the little corners? Look” and then help them. Once they are doing it for themselves, praise them again. “That’s it! Now you’ve got it! Well done. I’ll leave you to keep going on your own”
Praise does not always need to be for a job well done. Sometimes we actually need praise BEFORE we cross the finish line.
2. Let kids make mistakes and encourage them so they try again next time
We can’t always be there to fix things for our kids, so letting them learn from their mistakes is an important skill. Encourage them not to give up and to try again. Don’t nag when they fail at something, acknowledge they are disappointed and feeling low, but assure them that you believe they can try again, and succeed. Encourage them to learn from what went wrong the first time and address that in the next attempt.
- For example, if you didn’t practice enough for a test, and you failed, you could address that problem by doing more practice for the next test.
- If you tried to make a cake, and it collapsed and went all wrong, you could try making the same cake again, with an adult helping to oversee what you are doing.
- If you came last in a race, you could practice your running every other day, getting fitter and stronger.
It does not matter what it is, the best way to succeed is to try again. More than once if needs be.
Keen to start your kids in jujitsu with Modern Warriors?
Classes are held at Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre – when you sign up, mention you’re a Ryde District Mum to get a free uniform!
The first lesson is free and you can join at any time during the term!
3. Celebrate small achievements as well as the big ones
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t get all your spelling words right, it matters you practised and tried and improved on your last attempt. Taking out the garbage without being asked. Putting toys away. Making beds. Being polite and not interrupting. Celebrate being kind to each other, to someone who listened and was empathetic, recognise real effort and praise it.
4. Spend time with your kids. Not quality time, quantity time
Kids don’t need to go to the zoo or be given an expensive present to spend time with you. Raking the leaves, doing the shopping, washing the car and taking out the rubbish together is still time together. By fostering a sense of family and community with your kids, whatever form your family takes, your children come to learn a sense of belonging.
When my daughter was young and we went to do the grocery shop, I encouraged her to put things into our trolley, and we always got a small “treat” which we shared, for doing the grocery shop together. Once home, we put everything away together, even if her part was putting the plastic bags into the drawer and stacking up the cans. As she has gotten older she can now take half of my list and help me find things without my constant supervision at the supermarket, and she can help me put things away at home, not leave me with the car to empty alone.
I have always reminded her this is something we do as part of being in our family, and I have always been rewarded with her assistance and acceptance that this is a part of what we do.
5. Encourage problem-solving
When your child is doing something and hitting a wall, don’t jump in and fix things for them. Talk with them and help them to brainstorm ideas that can help them resolve the problem. This requires patience on your part.
6. Tell your kids you love them and think they are great
It sounds obvious but I can’t put enough emphasis on it. Not false praise, but genuine recognition of their great qualities- and tell other people within your child’s earshot. There is nothing better than hearing your parent’s genuine praise of your best qualities (kindness, patience, politeness, helpfulness, trying hard) to others.
7. Role model the behaviour you want from your children
If they don’t see you do it, don’t expect them to do it. That includes manners, listening skills, patience, good sportsmanship, speaking kindly to each other. “Because I said so!” is nowhere NEAR as effective as modelling the behaviour you wish to see in your child.
It can also be confronting and challenging to the relationship you have with your significant other when you realise, as you model these behaviours, that perhaps the adults in the family need to learn a few social skills and communication skills themselves. A little self-improvement all round is a good thing.
8. Have clear rules about when your child can perform certain activities
Things such as walking to school by themselves, getting the bus with friends into the city, owning their first watch, staying home by themselves. They’re likely to feel confident about them when the time comes because they will be comfortable with what they can do at that age.
It also gives them something to look forward to. Getting your first “Big Bike” or watch, or getting your first mobile phone when you start high school, can be achievements a child can work towards.
9. Convey a message that you believe they can achieve success if they persist
Kids tend to live up or down to the expectations we set for them. Believe in your child and they will believe in themselves too.
So many times I have parents who tell me that their child cannot achieve something like the splits in my martial arts classes, and insist as their instructor I am being unfair… only to be shocked three months later when at grading that same child drops down into the splits with every other child in the class. Getting a new belt is highly motivating, more motivating than the parent’s lack of belief. Imagine what would happen if those parents had been positive right from the get-go!
10. Teach your child resilience
Things do not always go the way we plan. Having an understanding that sometimes things won’t go your way, and knowing you can try again, is one of the building blocks of dealing with difficult situations with bullies at school and in the workplace.
This can ONLY be taught by a parent who enforces consequences and the magic of delayed gratification. Waiting for something we want. Earning something we want. Only getting the thing we want when we have achieved the goal we had set before us. Not getting our own way just because we tantrum, or sulk.
Consequences are a perfect lesson on what happens when you do the right and the wrong thing. Take advantage of them, you only have about 13 years to teach them to your children before it is too late, and reality discipline will teach them instead.
Studying a martial art can really help instil many of these ideals and habits into your child and provide support to parents by reinforcing those same good habits they are teaching at home.