"Motivating Your Child"

Do you remember when your child first came to you and said “I want to learn karate!’? That high level of excitement and the” I can’t wait to go to class” attitude seems contagious at times! The initial thrill of starting any new sport is sure to die down after some hard work begins! As with everything that we attempt in life, learning the Martial Arts also has its ups and downs.
There are times when the lesson at hand  may be a “Favorite” one to your child and there will be times when what is being taught is just not as exciting for an individual. That said, all lessons tie together and are an important part of a bigger picture. As a parent the best way to encourage your child through the difficult times is to remind them of the times they were so excited and help them to ‘connect the dots” between the less “favorite” activity and the more fun activities.
Every American parent has probably found them self day dreaming at some point about their son or daughter becoming “The Best” at something one day! The truth is that there are very few Prodigies out there and most successful people have put in a lot of time and practice into what they set out to achieve. It takes a lot of “Stick To It” for a kid to become the best!
As parents we can help our children by encouraging them through the tough times. The times when they want to throw in the towel! Are the  times when the need you to be the wind behind them telling them to “keep going. ” 
I know from having 3 very different children of my own that you must parent each child differently. What has worked for one over the years would never begin to work for the other, as parenting techniques go! That said, I am by no means an expert in parenting! I have witnessed over the years that those kids who tend to stick with  the Martial Arts and go all the way have a few things going for them.
The first thing I see is a personal drive and want to learn the Art. No matter how bad you want your child to become a Black Belt, it will never happen if they aren’t into it.
The second thing I see that a lot of our Black Belts have in common is the support of their families. It is imperative that we as parents are as excited as our child is about their new found passion in life. The interest that you show in what they are learning in class can only lift them higher.
Have you ever had your child come home from school so excited to teach you something that they have learned?  How awesome it must be for a 10 year old to know something that their incredibly smart parents have no idea about. Ask your kids what they learned in class. Show a genuine interest in having them show you the kata or technique. When they feel that even their “Least Favorite” lesson is fun because they get to come home and teach it to someone else, it helps to propel them through the slower times.
It also helps to start a “Brag Wall”. Framing their promotion certificates and making a big deal of their accomplishments only makes them want to do more. Every kid wants their parents to brag about them! After  all, they are doing something awesome and we should be bragging about them!
With a little help and guidance we can get our kids through most anything! It helps to remember that you are not alone. We have an entire class, and they all have parents. All of those parents have the same desire to see there child go all the way also. Sensei would love to see them all acheive Black Belt one day too! If you are having trouble motivating your child to “Stick To It”, please mention it to him. He knows your child too! He knows that different things motivate different kids and he may just have an idea on how to light that fire again!                                Written by Nancy Topp

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