PARENTS: What is more important the Why or the Want?
Let me elaborate on what I am really asking. I have been teaching martial arts for about 10 years now and at least 65% of our students are children. Working with children this often, you could easily be considered a child development expert in some eyes.
Parents frequently enroll their children in our program with specific reasons: ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, too shy, too energetic, not focused, overweight, poor balance, self-defense, bully issues, lack of self-discipline, needs a strong role model beside a parent and the list could go on.
Stay with me, I am almost to the point. A student finishes their intro lessons and the parents see how beneficial our Tiger Rock Martial Arts system will help with any one of the examples I listed.
Parents decide to enroll their child in our program because they know it will help and then the kicker question: ” I hope they stay interested…”
Here is the point you have been waiting for.
Your why has to be greater then your want.
If your child has a weight problem, severely affecting their health, do you really think they want to be told no more sweets, you have to exercise instead of playing video games? A child with ADHD will often shy away from challenges because they lack the focus to perform the required number of repetitions to accomplish the goal.
A child with Asperger Syndrome does not want to be taken out of their comfort zone, but will be exposed to many challenges in life doing just that. Do you hide them from society?
Kids will often “want” to do something else because they lack the mental development to see long term benefits until they mature; then they experience regret. Regret that they quit an activity, sport, or instrument that they would have been great at with time and repetition.
I believe it is our job, as parents, to let the “why” you should do this override their “want” to do it. Most often kids are happy doing the activity they did not want to do once quitting is not longer not an option.
I do agree that these statements I am making are not as simple as “Black and White.” Sometimes it is time to move on to something else, but parents should not be so quick to give in.
One parent expressed to me her son wanted to quit guitar lessons. It did not make sense to this boy’s mother based on his past demonstration of passion for the instrument. Instead of letting her son quit, the mother tried a younger more “hip” teacher who allowed her son to pick the music he wanted to play. Several years later her son is still playing guitar.
Parents, I don’t have all the answers and make a great deal of parenting mistakes too. No one has all the magic answers. I do know this, kids today seem to quit activities more often then they did years ago and we need to help them succeed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.