“ I don’t want to go to _______ class”, insert chosen activity and you have a sentence that most parents will have heard from their little cherub’s mouths.
“It’s boring”, or, “it’s too hard”, or, “I don’t like it” Any of these sound familiar? I’ve heard them all from my own kids referring to various activities including Krav Maga.
So why not let them quit?
Think of their school. Why do we send them to school, encourage and support them, take an active interest in supporting the school provide the pupils will the best educational opportunities? I think most would agree we do this as responsible parents’ to ensure our children get the best educational experience and help them fulfil their potential.
As children, do they fully understand this? In most cases probably not. Ever ask them what they did at school only to be told “Just work”, or “How was school?” to be met with “boring”? As kids, most don’t realise the importance of their education and it falls to us as parents to guide, support, and discipline them through their school journey.
I believe the same is true for their extra-curricular or leisure activities. We as parents have a responsibility to ensure they make the most of whatever opportunity they have chosen. They may not see the benefits, they may not enjoy every aspect of the activity, however, that doesn’t mean they don’t need the benefits.
My own example
Me eldest son started swimming lessons at 3yrs old. Like most parents we took him swimming as a baby and when he was old enough enrolled him in the local class. He worked his way through the various levels gaining competence and proficiency along the way. By the time he reached 8yrs old he began to complain about going to swimming class, it was “too cold” or, “I’m too tired” (yet miraculously had enough energy to go to the boxing class he loved!), or “I don’t like it, we don’t learn anything, we just swim up and down”
I admit we were tempted to let him give up, however, the initial reason we wanted him to learn to swim to a good standard hadn’t changed; we wanted him to be competent enough to swim out of danger should an accident ever happen. So, we explained this to him, and just like school, we made him go until he completed the full syllabus.
Much depends on what the activity is and why you want your child to do it. For example, I believe learning to swim and learning to defend yourself are essential life skills and should be thought about in the same terms as their school.
So how does this apply to Krav Maga?
I guarantee you, at some point during their Krav Maga journey your child will want to quit. It’s natural, normal, and expected.
First, remind yourself of why you wanted them to start training. What are the benefits?
- Develops Confidence
- Develops Social Skill
- Helps Focus and Concentration
- Improves fitness
- Promotes Self Discipline
- Have fun with friends
- And much more…
These benefits might not resonate with 8yr old, however, they will thank you for them in later life, I know this from personal experience.
Next, think about what you’ll be teaching them by allowing them to give up. Life is full of challenges. Many require persistence, commitment, dedication and resilience to overcome or manage. Allowing kids to quit at the first sign of a challenge is a dangerous precedent to set.
Achieving a goal is not easy, and not always fun. It takes hard work, and all the qualities mentioned above to achieve most goals in life. Training in Krav Maga and Martial Arts, in general, helps develop the skills and mindset required to achieve life goals. Patience, dealing with failure, resilience, determination, self-discipline, focus, it’s impossible to achieve a Black Belt in Krav Maga without acquiring and developing these and more essential life skills.
So, in conclusion, when you hear the “I don’t want to go because (insert reason here)” line from your child, take a moment to think what they’ll actually be missing out on by not going or giving up. “It’s so much more than hitting sh*t” as one of my mentors so eloquently put it!