There is no one formula to parenting. Each child is different. Believe me, I have been teaching martial arts for over 33 years and children are different. However, there are common lessons I have learned and tools that can help. If you have more than one child, you will be able to attest to this. Your eldest may have a different temperament, as well as unique quirks that distinguish them from your youngest.
In addition, children also change as they grow older. A toddler will have far different needs than a preschooler. And if you don’t adapt your parenting to these needs, both you and your child may find it difficult to adjust to the inevitable changes that the world brings.
Getting to Know You
We may think that we know our children but, just like any person, there are always layers of them that are constantly out of our reach. One thing that stands in the way of truly knowing our children is our expectations of them.
Don’t get me wrong, though: there’s nothing wrong with having expectations for your child. However, you must distinguish these expectations from the objective reality of who your child actually is. In a more advanced stage, this might mean expecting your son to become a doctor when, actually, he is a gifted and passionate musician. In the same way, many parents of young kids may become delusional about their kid’s talents that they might not see that the child’s natural inclinations lie somewhere else.
It is important to genuinely get to know your child because this makes you a better judge of their feelings and decisions. It allows you to give appropriate advice, disciplinary measures or praise. For instance, a child who is motivated by discovering new things may not quite do as you please if you offer only praise. Instead, you’ll need to tap into their sense of wonder to convince them to do things.
Of course, one of the most important aspects about this type of parenting is that you must learn to let go. It may be heartbreaking, for instance, to see your baby walk into a school bus without you for the first time. But, in the end, it is necessary. If you insist on coming with them each time, they might remain a baby forever and fail to grow and be independent. I call those parents “Helicopter Parents”. While this may be comforting for you, it’s not going to do them any favors.
After all, as children grow, they will have to face new trials which you may not be ready for. Remember, however, that they probably are.
Therefore, you must make sure that your parenting evolves with their growth. When your child begins walking, you must adapt your parenthood once more to the need of a child who walks. When they begin learning to write, you must adapt again. And so on, for as long as there will be firsts in your child’s life. Trust us, there always will be. However, while it is important to give your child a sense of independence, discipline and rules are just as important.
Contributors: Adam and Lauri
Adam and Lauri own Go No Sen Karate in Peekskill, NY. Adam is a sixth-degree black belt and has been teaching for over 33 years. He started the school in 1993 and Lauri, a 3rd degree black belt and his wife joined him in 2002. Together they have built one of the most successful martial arts schools in Westchester County teaching thousands of students over the past 25 plus years. Their motto is “Building Better Bodies & Stronger Minds!” And their focus is lifting children to new heights that goes beyond just kicking and punching. They are proud to announce the grand opening of their new location on Route 202 by Little Sorrento’s Restaurant serving Yorktown, Cortlandt Manor, Mohegan Lake and Shrub Oak and are looking forward to continued commitment to giving their students the best martial arts experience possible. More about the contributor…