Parenting these days is a far cry from what it was decades ago.
It’s not all bad, but there has definitely been a shift away from preparing kids to deal powerfully with life after mommy and daddy to making sure that they are always happy, that their feelings don’t get hurt and that they like you (the parent).
This has brought forth a generation of people that can’t handle being told no, that expect to be coddled, and expect to be taken care of.
Unfortunately these individuals get a rude awakening when they find out that their “awesomeness” isn’t enough to get or keep a job and that their good intentions aren’t enough to pay the bills.
So what does this have to do teaching Taekwon-Do?
Not all parents are this way, but every school owner who teaches children will have to deal with this type of parent.
You know who they are.
They say things like:
“My child is really talented, can he skip a belt?”
“I know my child doesn’t behave very well, but can you tell him he’s doing really great? I think that will help.”
“I don’t want my son to compete, it might make him sad if he doesn’t win.”
These parents are very well intentioned, want the best for their children, want to protect their children and would do anything for them.
That all sounds great on the surface, but that’s not reality. As much as a parent might try, they can’t shelter their children from everything that might cause them pain, stress, anxiety, embarrassment, disappointment or adversity.
And even if they could protect their child from all that, they’d be left with a child, teenager, or adult that is unable to deal with pain stress, anxiety, embarrassment, disappointment and adversity.
In other words, someone who is unable to deal with life.
So these people wind up in your class because they know that Taekwon-Do is good for them or their children. They know that they need the discipline, the structure, the accountability and the expectation of performance.
You may work with students and produce amazing results. They’ll do things physically they never thought they could do, and they overcome mental obstacles that previously seemed like to much to handle.
They’ll make all this progress, but when they go home, they’re right back in the environment that had them be the way they were in the first place.
Then they come back and it seems like you have to start all over again and the parents say things like, “Well this doesn’t seem to be working.”
I ask them if they’re practicing at home. They say no.
Then I say what they don’t want to hear, which is, “Of course it’s not. It won’t unless you back up what I do here at home. This will only work with your support.”
But you can’t automatically expect every parent to have that active of a roll in the child’s training. Some parents don’t come in, and some have a babysitter or nanny bring the kids. I’m lucky to even see those parents at testing!
If you can’t expect that from the parents, you need to create it with the parents. It is YOUR responsibility.
How we do this is by telling the parents during their intro lesson that parent participation is critical. We talk with them about the Instructor, Parent, (school) Teacher Triangle and make them responsible for making sure that the kids do their homework (yes, Taekwon-Do homework) and turning it back in to class. We have emails that go out to new students answering common questions. We also offer the Parent Coaching classes that explain in great detail the importance of how and why our curriculum is designed, how to train with kids at home, why there are testings, etc.
Not all parents go through every step we have here (I wish they did!) but those who do have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of what we are doing for their child. They also tend to train longer and participate in more of our school’s activities.
We could have a gossip party and swap horror stories about about parents we’ve all had to deal with, but the bottom line here is that it’s our responsibility to train our parents on how to be a Black Belt Parent, how to be a parent that will help you, and how to get the most out of their child.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org