Being a kids martial arts instructor for the over 25 years now, I have seen just about every type of behavior from kids of all ages. I have worked with hundreds of children over the years and I have found some common challenges in their behavior. Things like name calling, angry temper tantrums, hurt feelings, and unhealthy competition just to name a few. A lot of these things are very difficult not to take personally when they occur, but in my experience, I have found that by putting these things into perspective, I have a better opportunity to help that child and use this moment as a way for them to learn.
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 ninja toward the proper behavior or decision.
Below are our top 5 ways to put negative behavior into perspective.
- 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 ninja trying to tell me via his behavior?”. Often, you’ll find the underlying emotions and you can then address them.
- Recognize your 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.
- Pause & Redirect
It is important that when your ninja makes a mistake, realize that most actions come from a positive intent. For example, often when a ninja keeps interrupting the instructor as he/she talks it is not because they are trying to be rude, but rather they are wanting 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.
- Be your own detective
Has your ninja 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.
- Reframe the questions you ask yourself
Finally, instead of asking yourself internally “Why won’t my ninja stop calling my name/interrupting?” try reframing the question to: “What is so important to my ninja that I need to hear it asap?”
I hope you found this article useful and are now able to better understand your child’s negative behavior. By being able to put your child’s behavior into perspective, you will be a more effective parent and you will reduce your daily stress. It will also allow you to create a better and stronger relationship with your child.