Articles Comments

ParentingPanicButton » Do’s and Don’ts of Parenting Martial Arts

Do’s and Don’ts of Parenting Martial Arts

The idea of Parenting Martial Arts is not to avoid conflict, but to work with it, dissolve and diffuse tension and hostility and find amicable and responsible resolutions.  It is not advisable to suppress anger, bury feelings, be bullied, or accept abuse.  It is not fair to ask someone not to feel any feeling.  The questions is not how you ”feel the feeling”.   It is about the way you express the feeling.

Don’t impulsively react to your children’s comments, behavior and meltdowns.

Don’t react as if it is an emergency, unless it involves health, safety, 911 level.

Do notice, observe, listen to and process your child’s difficult behavior. 

Calmly let them know you have concerns, but delay judgment and consequence until you can do that in a non-reactive way.  It is fine to tell the teen or child, “Hey that really concerns me, and is quite disturbing……I’ll get back to you on it later”.  Use a calm and authoritative voice 

Don’t nag, lecture, admonish, threaten, yell,  humiliate, shame or irrationally punish your child. Minimize rules, ultimatums and decrees.   Those are fuel for rebellion.

Do have understandings and clear agreements, minimize rules and ultimatums.   Have clear expectations and outcomes and be consistent.  

Avoid arguing, inappropriate negotiation, and don’t tell them they have “hurt your feelings” even if they have.

Do replace arguing with calm conversation (postpone heated discussions to be resumed at a later time.) Replace inappropriate negotiation with giving several defined choices, all of which you are okay with.  Young people love choices.  Use anything but “you hurt my feelings”, because they are kids and you are adults and in that role, your personal hurt feelings are basically irrelevant.  Use words like, “ I am disappointed, surprised, disturbed, concerned, confused”.   You will get better results and not have a “charged conversation.”

Do not respond in kind to verbal or emotional assaults, or you will lose all of your credibility and any chance for resolution.  And do not escalate and pull out, threaten and use more “powerful weapons.:

Do listen, observe and hear the outburst.  Do not take it personally.  But do take it seriously.  Respond in a moderate, authoritative voice with compassion and understanding, acknowledge that the young person is very upset.   Wait for it to subside and then explain that you are happy to continue the discussion now without the verbal outbursts, or willing to resume it later when things have calmed down.

Do not be sarcastic, demeaning, pejorative, insulting, deceptive, overpowering, and condescending or accusing.  These are for children only and are vicious cycles destined for frustration and failure.

Do use humor, logic, hyperbole, wit, and cleverness for the good of the child.  If you do this, however, you must be skilled, effective and confident.

(Example; Your 13 year old precocious daughter asks if she can go on a “date”.

Response:   Absolutely, your mom and I totally support you dating, as a matter of fact, we love double dating>”

Example:  Your 16 year old wants to go to a party where the parents will “technically” be there, but will actually be at their own party next door until 11 when they will come home.

Response:  “No problem, you are in luck, I will be happy to come with and chaperon the party until they return.”  (and be ready to follow through)

Don’t make idle, unrealistic threats.  The kids will know they are empty and you will lose credibility  and they will test you, just to find out.

Get acquainted with the term “currency”.  Currency means optional things that you give your child that he/she likes that can be stopped by you.  If you prefer positive reinforcement, what can your child not resist that is worth better behavior.

Examples to be used as either positive or negative reinforcement: Driving privileges, cell phones, any technological gadget, curfew, overnights, things wanted, outings, time spent together (yes, really! Ie table games, movies, shopping, bowling, paintballing, etc. ), Ski trips and on and on.   Say what you mean and mean what you say.  Follow-through is the only antidote to loss of credibility.  And you only have follow through once to change the pattern.

Do not yell, shout, hit, threaten or use physical force, chase, or name-call.  These are also childish, bullying behaviors as well as being ineffective, destructive, damaging, and in some cases, illegal.

First, cease and desist these behaviors.  Discuss, postpone discussions, tag the other parent or another adult and get help.  Take an “adult time-out”.  If the child becomes assaultive, harmful or threatening to self or others, call authorities for immediate action, ie police, mental health.  Follow up the next day with finding help and services.  You are in trouble.

And by the way, this goes for all relationships.   If you find that you, your friend, your partner, colleague, supervisor or anyone is behaving in a bad way towards you, or visa versa, it is time to sit down and talk, and perhaps get help.

Rick Concoff, M.A  c 2013

Comments are closed.