Children’s challenging behaviors that don’t fit societal expectations have long drawn adults’ negative attention. When parents complain about their child’s negative qualities the focus changes to trying to “fixing” what is wrong or making excuses for the negative behaviors. This negative attention hinders them and contributes to low self-esteem. As they say, “We are what we think we are.” To help their children, adults should reframe how they view a child’s weaknesses or misbehavior and raise the ceiling for them. Children are criticized daily for their undesirable behaviors. Labels are often automatically assigned to children when they exhibit actions outside of what is considered “good” or “normal”. Adults feel they should address these things immediately to ensure the child’s future success isn’t impacted. Often in an adults’ pursuit to be good teachers, parents, and coaches, they forget the child should be the focus. The goal should be to understand the child and shift to strength-based thinking to build children up based on their individual personalities instead of trying to make them fit into a particular mold.
Common parental labels or complaints about their children are that they are overly sensitive, distracted or unfocused, playful, or defiant, to name a few. When we reframe this we may be able to see them as empathetic, creative, spontaneous, or strong-willed. This simple perspective shift redefines undesirable traits and creates an opportunity to nurture each child’s personality. Then, we can begin to look at them for who they are instead of what we want them to be. This fresh perspective shows the child respect and helps build confidence. The goal is not to encourage problematic behavior but to redirect it in more constructive ways.
Without a doubt how adults view a child has an enormous effect on their expectations. At Championship Martial Arts in Columbia-Waterloo we focus on helping children become “the best version of themselves.” The whole-child focus builds on necessary developmental skills while also encouraging individuality. Our karate instructors assess each child with curiosity instead of judgment. This allows them to nurture all behaviors in constructive ways that ultimately build the child’s confidence and appreciation of their uniqueness. In addition, our martial arts instructor give parents tips for best parenting practices which improves the parent-child bond and makes parenting easier and more fun.
When we maintain a positive focus on our children’s behaviors, challenging or not, we begin to appreciate their individuality more. This viewpoint fosters more positive feelings in a child, and their confidence grows. As they feel secure in themselves, their abilities and self-regulation improve because they can channel their once-deemed negative behaviors in a constructive direction. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Let’s help children believe their behaviors and individuality are good, and their light will shine brighter.