Being a parent is a rewarding experience. It teaches you selflessness, insight, and all sorts of fun things about diapers and mosquito repellents. One of its greatest impacts though is on your patience. If there’s one thing that will be tested when you have children, it’s your ability to restrain yourself in extremely difficult and emotional situations. Children are not always the serene little angels TV shows and paintings make them out to be. They will cry, scream, and they won’t always do what you need them to do.
In those moments when they’re being just plain bratty, it’s easy to buckle under the pressure and find the easiest method of diffusing the situation even if that method won’t exactly win you “Parent of the Year” awards. Don’t worry; nobody’s judging here! When you’re in public, and your child is throwing a temper tantrum, and you’re frustrated, embarrassed, and tired, the temptation to resort to bribery can and will be difficult to overcome.
One of the most important distinctions you can make as a parent is between bribery and a rewards system. Bribery puts your child in control, and that can really take a toll on your role as a leader. It gives incentives for bad behavior and gives children a sense of entitlement. The instant gratification may feel relieving and calming in the moment, but it’s a detriment to the parent-child relationship, and the little one’s character development in the long run. Rewards, on the other hand, are determined by the parent and provide motivation and inspiration to the child instead of control.
You also want to teach your children to value the correct things. Toys break, and sweets are temporary, but skills, knowledge, and experiences are more permanent. There are many fun activities that can serve as great rewards as well as learning opportunities for children—visiting a museum, going to a park, spending a day with the family at the beach.
One of the greatest rewards for children is enrolling them in martial arts classes where they can learn focus, discipline, and sportsmanship along with their peers. Martial arts also fulfill a child’s innate desire to be physically active, except that this time, they’re also learning to use their energy in a better, more progressive way. These classes are a fun way to bond with peers, move around, and learn important values.
Reward your kids with martial arts classes, and make bad negotiations a thing of the past!