Prepare the Child for the Road, Not the Road for the Child


As parents we want what is best for our kids.  When I ‘googled’ what the number one wish parents had for their children the first thing that came up was “Kid’s happiness and satisfaction reigns supreme”.  Every parent wants their child to have a happy life full of friends & family, and to have their needs met to live comfortably.  Kid’s discipline is important to find that happiness and satisfaction.

Discipline has been referenced as far back as time goes.  The bible even references to not spare the “rod”.  Middle Ages a common discipline was caning or any type of corporal punishment.  The 1950’s had certainly moderated discipline, but not every parent did.  Dr Spock was an advocate of reasonable discipline, but since then things have changed dramatically.  In a book in 2014, No More Perfect Kids, “positive discipline is based on minimizing the child’s frustrations and therefore reducing misbehavior rather than giving punishments”. 

“If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”—Bette Davis

While we are certainly not advocating beating your child, I do think that we have gone too far in making everything ‘perfect’ for our kids.  

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Our ‘good intentions’ to make life good for our kids may have steered so far off course that we have made our children free of consequences and the ability to cope with negative feedback. We need to prepare the child, not other people who don’t love and care about our child like we do.

Prepare the Child

“If we don’t shape our kids, they will be shaped by outside forces that don’t care what shape our kids are in.”—Dr. Louise Hart

Prepare the Child for the Road, Not the Road for the Child

The second on the list of what parents wish for their children is that they are respectful.  Everyone knows that we have “We Teach Respect …Every Day” posted in our Dojo.  We feel that understanding and giving respect is a major part of raising good kids.  What’s interesting is how the first wish and the second wish could be counter productive.  

When kids do whatever they want, when they want, they begin to believe that they are the center of the universe.  Which results in kids not believing others deserve their respect.  

Our children need us to prepare them for life.  We need to prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.  Life is not simple or easy.  The cruelest thing we could do is to shelter them to the point they are not capable of coping with life and then, when they are older, send them on their way to deal with a world they don’t know.

A gardener germinates a seed indoors to help it get a good and early start.  Once the seed sprouts and grows a couple of inches, it is time to prepare it to go in the garden.  If the gardener takes the seedling and plants it in the ground it almost always dies.  Either because the conditions outside are too different from what it is used to or because it is attacked by pests or parasites.  The seedling has to be “hardened off”.  This is the gradual introduction to a new environment. 

Our children need to know their boundaries, understand there are consequences and have the opportunities to make mistakes and improve. The book “The Coddling of the American Mind” is a great book about dealing with difficulties that will make our youth stronger, smarter and happier. 

Have Expectations for Your Child

At the dojo we have set rules and when those rules are broken there are consequences.  Age, rank, sex or cuteness does not have any impact on the consequences.  They simply are.  They are there so that they may learn to work within the constructs of society at a young age.  This allows them the time to prepare to be a healthy and productive part of society which leads them to the opportunity to find happiness and satisfaction.