Discipline….Key Parenting Skills To Teach at Home (Are you doing the last one?)

Our theme this cycle is DISCIPLINE. As parents, it is our job to teach our children how to set goals (not just dreams) and encourage them to focus and work hard on them. Many people in this world can start something, but very few will actually finish. I have seen this all my life– in my higher education, friends and family who start diet plans and crazy New Years Resolutions, and of course in martial arts. Here are some key parenting focal points from an article I read from http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/style/how-to-teach-kids-perseverance-goal-setting/ :

Get the Idea Across- Teaching Your Child How To Set A Goal
Start the process by looking for ways that your child already uses goal-setting techniques. If you notice that your son has managed to save up his money to buy a video game, for example, discuss the steps he needed to take to get what he wanted. Talk to him about how good it feels to accomplish something that you’ve worked toward. Then, discuss how these same techniques can be used to meet other challenges.

At ATA write down the goals for stripes and the next Belt Promotion (August 12th for Black Belts, August 13th for Color Belts!) on your family calendar.

Start Small
Help your child think of a fun goal she could achieve within a short time. Maybe she could finish a book she started or complete a craft project. “Little goals are the best way to get kids moving toward big goals,” says Jim Wiltens, a leadership-training instructor in the San Francisco-area schools. “Meeting a goal gives kids an incredible surge of energy.”

At ATA the small goals are the stripes earned in class. The bigger goal is Black Belt and beyond.

Let Them Choose
As much as you might want your child to make the honor roll, it’s best to let your kid decide what she wants to achieve. Then you can help her make a plan. Obviously, some goals require more input from you. If learning to figure skate is your kid’s dream, you’re going to have to help her set and achieve her targets.

At ATA ask your child what weapon they are most excited to learn and what kick they would like to excel in.

Be Alert to Possibilities
If your child says, “I wish I could win a prize in the science fair this year,” use it as an opportunity to assist him in creating a plan. “Help him write down specific action steps and a timetable for accomplishing each of them,” says John Bishop, author of Goal Setting for Students. Then check in with him from time to time to help keep him focused on his targets.

At ATA don’t let opportunities such as Leadership Team training, tournament competition or special seminars and Summer Camps slip through the cracks. These are opportunities for your child to learn and GROW!

Show Them How
Include your child in your own goal-setting to show her how the process works. Say you want to create a garden. Get your child involved in everything from researching plants to turning the dirt. “Adults know how to break a goal down into steps, and that’s something kids need to learn,” Dr. Shiller says.

At ATA we know it is never too late to set goals or learn a new skill. We offer a flexible adult training schedule for you to choose from (hint, hint!).

Provide a Reality Check
Children often underestimate how hard it can be to meet a goal, and then they get frustrated and discouraged when they fall short. If your child decides he wants to play the guitar, for instance, be encouraging but realistic. Point out the challenges and the dedication it will require. The idea isn’t to make the goal seem too daunting, but rather to share in the seriousness of the undertaking by helping plan it out.

At ATA this is where perseverance is tested. We do not know we have it until we fail at a stripe test, board break, or the challenge of leaving the pool to come to class. Don’t let your child float through life allowing everything to be handed to them. Face the challenges together.

Applaud Effort
As your child begins to set goals and work toward them, don’t forget the compliments. Say something like, “I’m really impressed. When you care about something you really go after it!” advises Dr. Shiller. That’s what Candy Shugart did when, in fourth grade, Zach set a goal of learning to play the clarinet and worked hard to master the instrument.

“I never said, ‘Go practice,'” Shugart says. “Zach did it himself. I just gave him lots of acknowledgment.” After that success he set increasingly more ambitious goals. And his discipline carried over to schoolwork too. “Zach, who’s 12 now, says things like, ‘I can’t cram for this test. I have to start earlier,'” his mom notes. “The change is phenomenal.”

At ATA we teach by using positive reinforcement and realistic praise instead of pointing out the negative. A positive attitude and a sense of work ethic could take you wherever you want to go in life. Attitude is everything.

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