#Teammate Parent Tips

Want To Build Your Child's Confidence?

kids parkour in OKC and Blancard OK area. Kids karate classes & Kids martial arts

Don't Focus On The Mistakes As Much As You Celebrate The Victories

This is a big part of what we promote in our kids karate classes. Even if mistakes were made or things were messed up, make sure you remember to point out what was done right or well FIRST! Focus on pointing out the good effort or courage it took to try. 

If you talk more about what needs fixed or what went wrong, it becomes harder for them to pull together the self esteem to keeping trying or to do it right.

Fastest Way To Destroy A Child's Confidence

If you only focus on the bad behavior or what was done wrong, that will fill the majority of their thoughts. This absolutely destroys a child’s confidence in themselves or their behavior over time. Which in turn, destroys their behavior. It can also build a lot of animosity between kids and parents over time.

The same can happen with adults.. If an adult is in a position that every mistake or wrong behavior is pointed out constantly, it becomes their focus. If you don’t work under a good leader, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

A person who is criticized and told what they are doing wrong far more than what they are doing right becomes fearful of trying or doing anything. All they can think about is the fear of acting wrong or doing it wrong.

Celebration Is The Key To Motivation

In our martial arts studio, we use graduation ceremonies to celebrate achievements. For kids, we also use badges and stickers to celebrate good behavior at every chance we see. The chance to be acknowledged for their progress or their good behavior gets them thinking about other ways they can be acknowledged for it!

Many times during our karate classes or graduation ceremonies, I have seen a student mess up. I have sometimes seen kids run off of the floor. Often they are embarrassed and biting back tears. They have shown they can do it before, but everyone messes up sometimes, especially with a lot of strangers watching.

This Is Where I've Seen The Most Problematic Behavior

I don’t mean the kids behavior either…

I don’t see this every time mind you, but more often than I would like to see.

Often, there is a parent on the sidelines who will immediately start asking them why they hesitated or why they forgot something they were supposed to do. Sometimes this parent will point out something they did wrong and say something like ‘you always did it right in practice, why did you mess up?’

One… Those are not helpful statements or questions. They just exacerbate the negative emotions and make the child feel worse.

Think about it, if you just messed up something you practiced really hard at, how would you like it if someone you trusted to comfort you immediately started pointing out how you messed up…

Instead of asking why they hesitated or forgot, it is better to encourage their effort. You might encourage their courage for trying or ask them how they felt about the performance to start the conversation.

Remember they are going to be self critical, you don’t need to be critical. Instead, be the voice of encouragement and reason pointing out the good things you are proud of.

 

How I Often Hear It Go

Instead of encouragement, I often hear parents point out what was wrong or ask them why they did it wrong.

This is usually followed by the student saying something like, “I don’t know, I forgot how to do it.”

Then a parent following up with something along the lines of, “but you had it last night.”

I know the parent is well intentioned. The problem with this is that suddenly a student, no matter what age, will suddenly start feeling like they will never be enough. Kids will feel like they didn’t really earn the rank they get, even though they wouldn’t be there if they hadn’t previously demonstrated the ability to do it. 

All because they made one mistake, on one day, that was magnified by their support structure. 

They thought they had it and they failed. The student will begin to think they will fail every time it matters and quite wanting to try. 

Even if they have done it countless times with no problem. It has a real impact on you when you are in front of people that you do not know.

Nothing sends confidence into the dirt quite like your support network making you feel worse than you already do about something you messed up.

 

Don't Miss Your Chance

Don’t miss your chance to encourage the effort, courage, and what they have already achieved just to get the chance to point out one mistake or correction. That puts the focus on what is bad instead of what is good. That will not help them learn how to cope with the situation better.

Always start by encouraging them and pointing out the things that you loved about what they did. Trust that they are going to be plenty hard on themselves about their mistake. 

At the very least, leave the correction to their instructors, that is their job. As the parent, your job is to provide a safe place and a balanced voice of support to keep them from developing terrible negative self talk that will follow them their entire lives.

Remember These Differences:

Incorrect: “What happened? You should know how to do this by now. Just lift the trash bag and take it outside, is that so hard?” Followed by no response after they do it, or possibly a frustrated response of “finally!” or “should have just done that to start with.”

Correct: “I know you don’t want to do it, but I appreciate your help a lot. The quicker you put more muscle into lifting that trash bag, the sooner we can get to play time! You are so strong! Almost got it! Here let me help a little!” Followed with a compliment on their strength or responsibility for taking care of that for you. 

A congratulations on a job well done goes a long way. Even a compliment on their helpfulness goes a long way to lifting their spirits and they will try to do more things to get your approval.

Let them know that even if it is a small job, it is very helpful and means a lot to you!

Incorrect: “You have the first part of that form down, but the second part needs work.” or “You aren’t very good at that technique, you need to practice more.”

Correct: “The first part of your form looks great, with some good practice everyday over the next week you will have the whole thing nailed! I’m proud of you!” or “You are great at this other technique, I know you will get this one down too just like you did that one if you keep up that amazing effort!”

Let them know that even if it is a small job, it is very helpful and means a lot to you!

Incorrect: “You have the first part of that form down, but the second part needs work.” or “You aren’t very good at that technique, you need to practice more.”

Correct: “You have the first part of that form down, with some good practice everyday over the next week you will have the whole thing nailed! I’m proud of you!” or “You are great at this other technique, I know you will get this one down too just like you did that one if you keep up that amazing effort!”

This is a big part of what we do as martial arts leaders to build confidence and skills in kids! Our martial arts classes help people focus on improvement and progress and how good it feels. We do NOT focus too much on the negative when we fall or fail.

We focus on the progress of what went well and trying again... and again... and again...

All while having fun and keeping everything upbeat and positive!

This #Teammate parent article was written by: Cory Rose

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