Martial Arts Builds Confidence in Children - Mesa Karate, Mesa Martial Arts, Gilbert Karate, Gilbert Martial Arts for Kids and Adults



Martial Arts Builds Confidence in Children

Karate-KidsAll parents want their kids to be strong and confident.  We all get excited when our kids become class president, captain of the team, or student council member.   We all want them to raise their hands, ask questions and give answers in class.  We want them to participate.  We want them to be leaders, not followers.

Some of us come into the world naturally wired to act like this, but the vast majority does not.   We need a little coaching. Sometimes, we even need to be pushed, and rather hard.   Sometimes even fun things seem scary.  So, often parents have to be there gently coaxing them along.  It is important not to give in to the fears.  Leaders are always out front.  I know you want your child to be a leader, right.  Being out front means doing new things all the time.  So be there for them and don’t let them run away from the challenges that will help them grow.

So how can we help our children become strong and confident?

We help them develop a “can do” attitude by doing things they have never done before. And sometimes that can be scary. For example….the first time you go for a belt advancement, you might be quite nervous, but with each additional belt, you realize, you DO know what to do and you “can do” it.  So your attitude shifts from fearful and tentative to brave and self-assured.

It’s a simple formula. Try new things and succeed, and you gain confidence to try more new things.

But there are several supporting things that help us feel confident.

 

1.      STRUCTURE

We all love structure.  We like to know when to start, when to stop, where to go, and what to do.   Think of it this way:  when you don’t know what is expected of you, you are very unsure about trying.    You get to your job as a data entry operator on day 1, and your boss comes and says, “go clean the bathroom.”   After you do that, he says, “go get these office supplies.”   By the end of the day, you really are not sure what to expect tomorrow.    On the other hand, a known structure reduces anxiety and helps us feel like we can control the environment around us.   This feeling gives us enthusiasm to accomplish the tasks before us.   Parents build structure in their family routines without even thinking about it, like the morning routine and the bedtime routine.  Each of these is broken into several smaller routines, like personal hygiene and getting dressed.    If you keep these routines consistent, thus creating structure, your children learn to anticipate what will happen and soon are saying, “I know… I can do that.”

 

2.      FACING FAILURE IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT   

If you try something new, don’t do a good job, and you get yelled at by your teacher, it is unlikely that you will gain any confidence from that experience.   And note that there is a difference between being firm and being negative, and there is certainly a difference between what happens the first time you are asked to do something and the tenth time.    Some parents inadvertently create a negative environment by always feeling frustrated and tired.  A basic rule for parents and leaders is to cultivate enthusiasm and a positive attitude, while also being firm about expectations.   One secret to confidence is never giving up.   Teachers and parents play a key role in helping children learn perseverance.  It is important to remain positive when facing failure, to analyze what went wrong, and to create new steps to success on the next attempt.   Negativity and frustration kill confidence.

 

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3.      BEING FIRM

As a parent, when you know that your child is safe trying something new, it is your job to stand by and insist that the child finish the task.   That’s the whole idea behind having a safe, structured environment.  Sometimes children—and adults— just have irrational fears of new things that are not based on what is happening around us.  In this situation, parents need to push or insist with gentle but firm guidance.   Some children fear going to school.   Do we give in and say, “Mary, you can stay home today.  We’ll try again tomorrow.”   The same thing can happen when entering middle school or getting the first job or trying algebra for the first time.   There really is no option to quit, even though the child feels that way.

 

4.      ROLE MODELS

Having others around us that smile, try new things, have positive supportive things to say….all of this helps us grow stronger.   And role models of all ages are great.   Parents need to look for activities that expose their children to positive role models of the same age, slightly older, and adults.

 

These things help us grow in confidence.  Think about your family routines.  Refine them so the children come to know what is expected in all situations.   And then reward them—mostly with your love and enthusiasm—for taking initiative and getting things done. You’ll be very happy with the results.

Are you looking for more support with building confidence in your children?  Do you have a child who is overly shy?    Are you concerned about separation anxiety and going to school for the first time?   All of these are reasons parents are coming to Babin’s ATA Martial Arts today.   Give us a call at 480.497.0515 and we can help make success a part of their future.

Author
Bill Babin

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