Let’s talk about correcting improper behaviour when our ninjas make bad decisions. Parents, coaches, teachers, and other adults often define punishment and discipline as one and the same. Fostering change in a child’s behaviour starts with having the proper definitions and understanding of punishment and discipline.
Punishment is a short-term solution for a long-term problem. Punishment can quickly shut down bad behaviour, but it increases the risk of negative and/or retroactive experiences that could create even more problems down the road.
On the other hand, discipline is a method that keeps long-term goals in mind. By instilling discipline, we develop trust and confidence in our ninjas by helping them work through their mistakes and creating a plan of action for the future.
How does this relate to martial arts?
We’ve been teaching kids martial arts for a long time and have found that parents sometimes hold their child back from testing or will simply take martial arts away as punishment. We all know the goal of such a punishment, but it’s also important to weigh the negative side as well.
Martial arts classes are where children are surrounded by positive role models, placed in situations where they can make good decisions, and strive towards success. Instead of barring troublesome children from classes, it might be better to communicate with their instructors to find a way to turn a negative into a positive.
How can this work?
Here is a three-step system developed by a child development expert, Melody Shuman, that you can implement at home. You can even use it to follow through with your child’s instructors to better steer your ninja in the right direction. (Check out the episode “Punishment vs. Discipline” of her podcast Melody Shuman Breaks It Down: https://www.buzzsprout.com/64686/475667-014-punishment-vs-discipline.)