This Sensei Says is a continuation of the last one. One of our biggest missions here is to help you raise strong, highly successful and happy children. One way for us to do this is to give you support, help and advice as a parent. It sure is not easy raising a child, but as a team I know we can develop amazing children. I have found one of the best ways to help you is to “Keep it simple”, by giving you parenting tips and techniques that are simple and easy to apply.
Last week I told you to just remember three words - SCARY, HARD and BORING. Your child needs all three of these daily and often. I covered “scary” last week where I discussed the need for every child to experience a little bit of fear or discomfort every day. Then, just to be super-observant for these daily emotions. Catch every one of them if you can. Finally, just apply this principle: “Every time I back away from a fear my FEAR gets bigger but every time I power through my fears I get bigger”. Seek out these little daily fears and never, ever let your child back down. You may think you are protecting them but you are not. (You actually are doing the opposite by allowing them to freak out and back away from the smallest things – Over time this often develops into chronic anxiety, or the fear and worry about everything!).
Now let’s go on to “Hard”. In order for your child to thrive in school, work, in their relationships, and life they will have to learn to be disciplined. Here is a very simple and direct definition you can use for discipline – Discipline is just the ability to do “things you do not want to do”!
Anybody can do what they like doing or are good at doing. But, often we unknowingly protect or shield our children from doing hard things they do not want to do. Think about it. How many times a day do you have to do things you do not want to do? Around the house? At work? With your spouse?
Just imagine a child who rarely has to do anything they do not like to do or are not good at all the way through high school or college. What do you think happens when they start that first low paying entry-level? How about when they have a boss or co-worker who are not the most supportive? How about when they have that spouse who is not perfect? Any wonderful why this generation is so quick to give up or quit?
So how do you, as a parent, counter this in your child. Pretty simple – make them do things they do not like or want to do all the time from a very young age!
Again, it just comes down to “awareness” on your part as a parent. Just watch for these signs. When a child does not want to do something, know this is a valuable learning opportunity you do not want to miss. When they say “That is too hard.” Or, “I don’t want to.” Or, “Can I just watch first.” Or, when they start something like a new sport but after a few practices or games they say “I don’t want to do this anymore. Can’t we try something else?”
Even better, catch all the smaller stuff. This is where you will really develop self-discipline. If they don’t want to eat broccoli (and you know they are not allergic to broccoli), make them eat the broccoli. If they try to “negotiate” playing a video game a little longer, make sure they stop right when you ask them to. Routinely make them do something small they do not want to do before anything fun they want to do. For instance, when they want to start playing their video game just say something like this - “Could you give some food/water to the cat first?”
So, there it is. Just make you child do things they do not want to do all the time. One of my favorite sayings is “Give your child what they need, not what they want.”
So, just remember these three - SCARY, HARD and BORING. I will write about the last one next week.
Yours for stronger kids,