You’re disappointed. Your son or daughter has come home with a less-than-favorable progress report. Even worse, you learn about some discipline issues. You feel the anger swell. You decide to take away the things with the most meaning. Starting at the top, you collect all the electronics, you forbid after school privileges, no friends, no sleep overs and as a final punitive action, you decide to keep your child out of martial arts. Convinced you made the right choice, you think, “that should do it”. Unfortunately, this style of punishment is not only doomed to fail, it could ultimately harm your relationship with your child.
Why It Won’t Help In the Long Run
It’s often hard to understand being a few generations removed, but kids who are interested in proven, positive activities (i.e. martial arts, dance, gymnastics, scouting, etc.) aren’t as common today as you might think. Kids are bombarded by stimulus, with a distraction a second, an app notification, a must-have game, a new social media platform all mixed with peer pressures. Short version: It can be hard to connect and gain influence with your child. So dear parents, if you read nothing else here, please understand that a child who’s expressed interest in a physical-based activity with obvious and lifelong benefits is extremely positive, but often temporary. Before the winds change, take full advantage of this opportunity and DON’T LOSE YOUR INFLUENCE.
How to Turn On Influence
Instead of removing all of the thing(s) that your child likes, in this case martial arts, use the influence of the activity to modify your child’s behavior intrinsically from within. For example, you might say, “We’re going to have to talk to your instructor. I don’t think you’ll be allowed to test for your next belt (or compete in a tournament, or go to parent’s night out, etc.) with a C in math.” That simple conversation has turned on the self-awareness mode within your child but also gives them the perspective needed to understand that they’re in jeopardy of losing something they deem as valuable.
Using All-Day Leverage
K-South practices the use of powerful tool a, “letter of intent”. This letter addresses your child’s school teacher saying in summary, “hey we’re on the same team and if the grades and behavior of our mutual student don’t improve, please let us know as they won’t be eligible to advance in rank or travel with the tournament team, etc.” By going this route, everyone involved in your child’s daily orbit from wake up to bedtime is using influence over authority to impact positive internal changes to ultimately reach the desired outcome.
The Damage of Authority
In contrast, if you take the alternate approach and simply use your authority, “fix your grade or you’ll be grounded forever and no karate”, eventually the punishment will lift, the electronics will return, and you’ll say, “time for class” but don’t be surprised to hear, “I don’t want to go anymore”. Sadly in most cases, the unwanted behavior and bad grades will return, but next time, you won’t have the additional support to help influence your child. As stated in the title, the punishment has failed.