We all love to see our kids excel in everything they do.
There is no doubt that when kids finally nail their kata, or fly across the mat and break a board; everyone involved shares a sense of accomplishment (I certainly do). BUT it is only a matter of time before our future black belts come across something that challenges them.
Before we go any further, let’s agree that challenges are good things!!
If you’re never challenged then either you aren’t working hard enough, or you’re not growing. Both of those are opposite concepts in relation to martial arts training. From belt to belt, everything gets harder because being a Martial Artist is about growth and being better than you were the day before.
Getting 1% better every day makes you 365% better by the end of the year!
As adults, we have an easier time understanding – this but for kids, this can be a little more difficult for them to wrap their heads around. Here’s a quick list of things you can do or say to build a positive growth mindset in your kids!
1) Let them talk – How does this make you feel?
Often times when our kids are challenged or stumble they feel disappointed in the fact that either they let US down, or they let THEMSELVES down. It’s important to let them take time to process their feelings and to not use blanket statements like “you will be ok” or “get back on that horse” right away. Those statements are important, but would be better used after they are able to process their emotions.
2) Hug it out
When you’re kids are feeling upset, they are experiencing a major dose of cortisol (the stress hormone). A nice hug will help trigger the release of oxytocin (the connection chemical) and will help reduce the level of cortisol in their system. Even a high five can help, or fist bump. There’s a reason we use them in class, they’re a legitimate connection tool!
3) Come up with a plan
Once we work past the initial emotional downswing, commit to setting a plan that will help overcome whatever the challenge was. A great way to go about this is to set goals! When goal setting, start small and break the main goal down into smaller, easily digestible steps that are more attainable. Once you develop some momentum, THEN raise the bar and make your goals just a little bit harder to reach. Keep doing this until you have overcome the initial challenge.
4) Focus on growth
Some things are extremely difficult, and everyone has a different perspective on what is difficult for them. What may be hard for your kid, may be easy for another and vice versa. The goal here is to help our future black belts be focused on their own personal growth and not get lost comparing themselves to others. Remind them that what matters is that they give 100% and at the end of the day, YOU will be proud of them for that!
Using these tips will help provide your future black belt with a sense of confidence and self-esteem when they face a challenge in the dojo or in life. Remember to be consistent though, because developing a positive inner voice will begin with YOU. If you’re able to foster a positive growth mindset on the outside, this will become their inner voice that will stay with them for a VERY long time.
See you in class!