As seasoned children’s martial arts instructors, we have witnessed just about every sort of behavior and outburst from working with hundreds of martial arts students over the years. We have seen it all from playful name calling to angry tantrums. Some things are difficult to not take personally, but our experience allows us to put things into perspective so that we may have the opportunity to use this as a moment of learning.
If you ever thought:
- “You are making me so mad!”
- “Can’t he/she see this hurts my feelings?”
- “I can’t believe he/she is so ungrateful!”
Don’t feel too bad because everyone does at some point. But with a little perspective you may be able to change the internal conversation, stay calm, think of solutions, and lead your child toward the proper behavior or decision.
Below are our top 5 ways to put negative behavior into perspective.
1. Behavior is communication
We as adults need to remember that our children are far less experienced in recognizing and communicating their emotions. Frustration, fear and anger can all be underlying causes for their actions and may express themselves inappropriately simply because they can’t think of any other way. So, before you start to think of punishments, ask yourself “What is my child trying to tell me via his behavior?”. Often, you’ll find the underlying emotions and you can then address them.
2. Recognize your own triggers
We are all different, which means we all have different hot-spots. These could be things like specific actions, words, and/or attitudes. Once you can recognize what gets under your skin, the next step is to plan ahead so that you are prepared for when this will happen. Often, those bad behaviors in our children are reflections of our own insecurities or short-comings.
3. Pause & Redirect
It is important that when your child makes a mistake, realize that most actions come from a positive intent. For example, often when a child keeps interrupting the instructor as he/she talks it is not because they are trying to be rude, but rather they want to impress them with how much they might know about the topic. So pause for a moment and redirect your thought to discovering the positive intent before you respond.
4. Be your own detective
Has your child ever done anything that touched on a nerve in just the right way? This would be a good moment to dig deep and figure out why you feel this way. Discover the narrative you are telling yourself about this behavior or action. Have you ever felt like this before, and what made you feel this way? You may not be able to come up with the answers right away, but being your own detective helps you rewrite the narrative in a more helpful and positive manner.
5. Reframe the questions you ask yourself
Finally, instead of asking yourself internally “Why won’t my child stop calling my name/interrupting?” try reframing the question to: “What is so important to my child that I need to hear it ASAP?”
We hope you found this helpful! Consistently putting negative behaviors into perspective will not only improve your mental health and mindset but will also allow you to start building a deeper connection and understanding with your child.