Negative Comments Can Be Destructive

Written by Kathy Olevsky on Monday, 05 March 2018. Posted in All About Martial Arts

Don't let others de-rail your Parental Decisions

angry child 300x194Negative comments can undermine parental plans!

By Kathy Olevsky

Often times, in the martial arts business, we hear that students all of a sudden decide they don’t want to do Karate. This confuses the parents and our instructors when the child had been doing very well in martial arts prior to this latest revelation. Over the years, we have found out some very interesting facts that undermine our best laid plans as parents.
We once found out that a child, who was about to start sparring class, started dropping comments about not wanting to start sparring. The parents tried to get her excited with her new sparring gear, which was on order. She was looking forward to this new step a few weeks ago. We advised the parents to start discussions when they were not at Karate. Maybe have a conversation about it on a family outing of some sort that had nothing to do with Karate class. On one of these outings, the little girl mentioned that her grandmother didn’t know anything about sparring. They pursued the conversation a bit and found out that grandma had said she thought it sounded “dangerous”. Of course, this implanted some new thoughts in their daughter’s head and thus derailed their plans for a little bit. With this new discovery, some counter information and reassuring made it relatively easy to get her excited again. They also mentioned to Grandma, how important this was to them and how they wanted their daughter to succeed in Karate to gain confidence and to be able to defend herself. They asked Grandma to come watch the little one’s sparring instruction so that she would be part of the support team in the future.

In a similar situation, one little boy decided he didn’t want to come to Karate anymore after spending a weekend with a non-custodial parent. After some gentle prodding, the little fellow repeated some information that Mom had concerns about the fighting in Karate. Mom had actually never been to see a class, and didn’t know what this young man was doing in classes. We suggested that the custodial Dad make a plan for Mom to come watch a class. Things definitely got better after they worked out that it was a good thing for the child because he was being bullied in school. Mom came to watch a class and totally got behind what he was learning. Sometimes parents just need to know that there are steps to our training and that their impression of what Karate is, may in fact, not be what we teach.

We also had one middle school aged child, who actually started because he didn’t seem to fit in, to any of the activities in school and with friends. He was doing great in class and his mother told us she could see him just absorbing it all and loving classes. He started to build friendships with other students in Karate class and seemed very happy. After about 3 months of classes, he started resisting coming to class. We advised Mom to have some conversations, outside of the time frame when he would come to class. The point here is to give him a time to discuss it when he does not think it will mean he would have to go to class if it was resolved. They talked about it at Sunday morning breakfast. On our advice, Mom brought up the fact that he previously enjoyed classes and she asked him which of his friends, distant family or neighbors knew about his Karate classes. He did finally mention that he had told some kids in school about a trophy he won in a tournament. When Mom asked what they thought about his trophy win, he admitted to them taunting him about taking martial arts.   Now that Mom had the source of dissention, she just needed to use a bit of parental psychology to help her son understand that they were teasing him because they were jealous of his talent. She used us as her back up by having him come here and discuss it with us. We were able to help get him back in to class and loving his martial arts again.

About the Author

Kathy Olevsky

Kathy Olevsky

Kathy Olevsky, 8th Degree Black Belt, has taught Karate with her husband, Rob, since 1979.  She is an active instructor, manager and author in the martial arts.  

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