January 02, 2023 4 min read
Does your heart skip when you see your child’s teacher’s name on the caller ID or in your inbox? If your child is having behavior issues at school or elsewhere, you might likely be at your wit’s end trying to help them do better. When rewards and consequences from you, your teacher, or other adults in their life don’t work, it might be time to try a new tactic. Consider enrolling your child in a martial arts class to help them learn how to regulate their behavior. Martial arts classes at U.S. Kuo Shu Academy are character development classes that can improve every aspect of a child’s life. Check out how these lessons help with behavior.
Martial arts classes are predictable in their structure. They require children to follow traditions and rituals from the minute they enter the building until the minute they leave the building. They’ll be required to listen, hold stances, and follow directions very closely. The ready stance is a common way to bring children back to attention should they begin to falter. In ready stance, they are focused, listening, and ready for the next direction. It is difficult to misbehave when focusing on the position.
Anxiety and stress are the most prevalent reasons a child will act out. You may have heard the acronym HALT. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired – these are the most common triggers that can stress a kid out. While regulating these items can boil down to routine, bigger life stressors can wreak additional havoc on their behavior and self-regulation. A key focus in martial arts class is not only just the cathartic benefits of releasing that pent-up stress on the mat but also in how to regulate and express them when appropriate.
Kids thrive with positive attention from adults and peers. Many environments they find themselves in focus on the group more than the individual. In class, the teaching style is that which works for “most”. In team sports, there is a lot of pressure on each individual to satisfy the team’s demands of them – including improving their skills. Martial arts classes are a place where a child can focus solely on their own development at their own pace. They don’t use a measuring stick that everyone else uses, but they work on individualized goals and timelines for achieving those goals. This can be a life-altering thing for children who may be inhibited by the pressure to conform and perform at standards that are not right for them.
Attention spans are regularly decreasing. Kids have immediate access to social media, movies, music, friends, and more. All of those things are competing for their attention against academics, physical activities, and self-care – so much so that it can be impossible to focus on any one thing for very long. Entering the martial arts classroom means leaving all those distractions behind and outside and ONLY working towards the next level of earning a black sash. This focus and dedication within martial arts class takes hold and allows the child to take those skills with them to school and other extracurricular activities. With a newfound focus, your child can hone in their energy when at school to stay on task. When busy with a dedicated task, misbehavior is no longer in their periphery.
Misbehavior is not just a result of an inability to focus, but can also be related to the length of time that focus is required. A lecture at school that is less than exciting and goes on too long can result in misbehavior from children who can focus in normal circumstances. By expanding their mind and body’s endurance for focus, we can further reduce misbehavior during moments when it may have previously been inevitable.
Anxiety, stress, and especially unused energy stores can all build up and lead to in-school misbehavior. When a child is stuck sitting at a desk all day only to go home and sit on the couch or in front of their computer and school books, those energies have no way to escape. But, when a child is active, especially on a consistent basis, they use up that energy. Releasing pent-up energy in an aerobic exercise is an excellent way to stay focused, stay regulated, sleep well, and ultimately feel better. When we feel better, we behave better.
When feeling negative, it is only natural to behave in negative ways. Through the study of martial arts, one will begin to have a different, more positive outlook on life in general. Bully prevention tactics, conflict avoidance, and other interpersonal skills play a role in this change of scenery. Increased confidence, respect, and self-control all help a child see themselves and the world differently than before. With every goal they reach for and achieve, they begin to understand they can do anything they put their mind to. They no longer see a Mountain when it is just a molehill. They simply step over the molehill and continue progressing through life.
If you are at your wit’s end, trying a multitude of rewards and consequences that don’t seem to break through to the root of your child’s misbehavior, we hope you’ll try martial arts. A new structured routine that is fun and active could be just what they need. Call today to schedule your child’s FREE evaluation.
Martial Arts for Children & Adults
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