Monday, October 13, 2014

Can Karate Fix Shyness - Part II

Sometimes the children we see are brought to us because they are shy. I’ve written before on the topic of Martial Arts and how it can help shy kids (and adults). As I’ve said before, shyness is not an attribute that needs to be fixed. Being shy is not a problem. Letting the world take advantage of you, however; is.

What causes shyness? Why are some kids naturally more inhibited than others? What can you, as a parent, do for them. Understand that my answers are derived from 16+ years of martial arts experience, being a parent, and teaching kids at all ages for 30 years. I am not a doctor, a psychologist, or otherwise trained in the field of human behavior. But I think my perspective is based on and shared by learned others, as well as personal experience.

Shyness is not a defect. Poor self esteem, and confidence is. Being cautious in your approach to others, listening more and talking less, are not poor personal quality attributes. Being afraid to ask why one received a 'B' on a test where none of the answers are marked wrong - is a problem.

In my experience, children learn that they are not to speak by being told, directly or indirectly, that they have nothing of value to say. "Shut up", "be quiet", "wait your turn" - when ‘their turn’ never seems to occur - are sure fire ways to push natural shyness into destructive inhibition. Children must see that their thoughts are appreciated and accepted by the community around them.

I’ve had kids, and know that they can sometimes say the darnedest things, and by darnedest I mean embarrassing, silly, thoughtless, and did I say embarrassing things? They interrupt, they speak too loudly, they are relentless - "Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom," {insert mind numbing unending series of "moms" here}. Kids are generally very poor communicators with very strong lungs, endurance, and dedication to fast food.

But we must give them their opportunity to express their thoughts. In the car, at the dinner table, in the pew, in the waiting room, in line, and anywhere else conversation takes place. Absolutely, you should remind them to wait their turn, to speak in an appropriate volume, and to use proper language and etiquette. Maybe you do this. Great. What about Grandma and Grand Dad. What about their older siblings? Is anybody shutting them down; is there anybody who is inappropriately communicating to your child that they should not speak?

Martial Arts, like life, is about balance. Excessive aggression, like excessive inhibition is not good. Martial arts can help a child become more confident (read more here), but if the lessons of class are not allowed to permeate one’s home and social environments, progress will be difficult.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that Martial Arts can help with confidence in children AND adults. It's a great way to leverage life lessons.

    Great post


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