Why the Sudden Change?
Your son has been taking class for months - maybe even years, but now something has changed and he says he doesn't want to come to class anymore. Your daughter really seemed to like it, but all of a sudden she tells you, “I want to quit.” Kids are always discovering more about themselves and trying out new things. So, it's inevitable that they will want to quit something and move on to the next thing. The real question then becomes, “should we let them?”
What Should I Expect From Martial Arts?
Out of all of the available activities, Martial Arts is the one that should be more than just fun. It is a life-enriching activity. Even at the worst martial arts school, you would expect that your kid would become physically stronger and more coordinated. At MAFF, we set an additional expectation - that your kids will become as strong on the inside
Notice we said, it should be more than just fun. This isn’t always the case. This leads to the next part...
Dealing with a Mild Case of "I want to quit"
Evaluate whether you find value in the program
Do you see value the program? Perhaps you don’t. If that's the case, then withdraw your child and either find a different Martial Arts school or to find another activity altogether. If you do value the program, but you have concerns, have a conversation with the head instructor. Explain the situation and we will do anything we can to make course corrections.
Get an Instructor involved
It may be that your daughter doesn’t like the progress she is making with her current curriculum. Perhaps, your son feels like he is behind everyone else. A simple solution is a 25 minute private lesson that is fun and will engage the student to make significant progress. Mention to the Instructor that your child is talking about quitting in order to make it a team effort.
Reinforce your child's progress or their benefit
If you find value in the program and you want to keep your child in the program, you can help by reinforcing their progress or benefits that they currently have. Maybe your son is getting close to Black Belt. Maybe your daughter could barely stand on one foot and now she can balance on one foot masterfully while holding a steaming cup of tea. Be sure your child knows how far they have come and where else they can go in the future.
Remind them of the friendships they have made there
Another way to remind your child the value of the program is to reflect on the friendships they have made. Martial Arts is great for making new friends.
Get them involved with one of the school's events
Sometimes the student just needs a new fire lit in them. School events are great for doing this. Whether it’s a tournament, a parent’s night out, or birthday party, get your child to another event where they can experience the school and the Martial Arts in a different way.
Switch to a different program or class time
If possible, switch class days and times. By switching classes your child can try class with different students and perhaps make new friends or participate in class with friends they don’t normally get to participate with. There are also other classes they could try like weapons or sparring. Switching to something new once in a while can keep a student engaged.
Regardless of which of these you try, it comes down to the value that you place on the program. If you value the program and express that to your child, perhaps they will learn to value it as well. Also, please get us involved at the first sign of apathy. We can often help you head off trouble before it starts.
Side story: We once had a family that made training martial arts a family rule. "If my kids are living in this household, they are training at MAFF - it's just part of the deal," explained the mom. She said it with a smile, but she was serious. She new the value of the program and stayed in good communication with us to make sure they were getting the most out of it. Her 2 boys went on to get their 2nd degree black belts before going off to college. Good job, mom!