With the summer winding down and the start of the new school year just around the corner, it’s time once again for parents to consider signing their kids up for after-school activities. There are a lot of options to choose from, and parents may be tempted to just go with whatever seems the most convenient. Some activities offer more benefits than others, however. Martial arts provides opportunities for personal growth that you just can’t get from other classes. In particular, practicing martial arts can drastically improve a child’s relationship with their parent. Here’s how:
1. Encourages respect
Every generation tends to think successive ones are ruder and more disrespectful than the one that preceded it. For instance, a 2014 Harris Poll found that only 31 percent of parents believed kids respected their teachers. Although this can be chalked up to skewed perceptions or youthful rebellion to some extent, there is some truth to the notion that kids today are generally less respectful than generations past.
“Martial arts teachers can set proper expectations for interacting with adults.”
Psychologist Alex Packer explained that modern technology inadvertently encourages bad manners and disrespectful behavior. Relying on terse digital communication platforms like Twitter and text messages can result in curt and insensitive remarks. Furthermore, parents today may present themselves more as a friend of their children than an authority figure – a recipe for disrespect.
Martial arts classes can change all of that, though. Provided that the martial arts instructor cultivates a dojo of mindfulness and respect, that mindset will carry over into other areas of life. By establishing themselves as authority figures, martial arts teachers can set proper expectations for interacting with adults in general, including students’ parents.
2. Decreases frustration
Dealing with an angry child can be quite the handful, and for some parents, it’s a nightly occurrence. There’s a reason the “witching hour” is a thing, after all. It only gets worse once kids hit puberty. Helping turn a hormonal teenager into a calm and collected individual may sound like a pipe dream, but martial arts can help.
Martial Tribes explained that martial arts classes present an opportunity for students to vent their frustration and release any pent-up anger or negative energy. Better they take it out on a sparring partner than their parents.
3. Teaches patience and control
Any parent who has had to answer “Are we there yet?” over and over again knows kids tend to be impatient. That can boil over into frustration and temper tantrums if children are not taught the value of stoicism. Luckily, martial arts instructors are here to help.
Martial arts expert Andrea Harkins noted that the dojo is a perfect training ground for instilling patience. She recalled her own early experience with martial arts and how, after advancing to a yellow belt, her progress stalled. After a full year, her instructor finally bestowed upon her a new belt, recognizing and rewarding her patience.
“This was a case where the power of patience revealed itself,” she wrote. “I learned that the ‘wait’ is often as valuable as the moment for which you are waiting. During that time, you grow without even realizing or recognizing it.”
Martial arts teachers are in a fantastic position to help students appreciate the value of patience and remaining calm in the face of adversity. They’ll learn that some of the best things in life are worth waiting for, and that will make any parent’s job that much easier.