I Taught My Kids a Valuable Skill & Learned Something in the Process

How-Introverted-Kids-Can-Practice-Self-Advocacy_SOURCE_istockphoto

Last Thursday, my lucky children learned a valuable lesson in self-advocacy, “Jessy Style.” My parenting style is not typical. You won’t find a Mama like me just anywhere! Oh-Ho-No! I like to teach valuable lessons, in my own fashion, that will stick, that are relevant, and that will last. Actually, this is a win-win-win lesson… I am killing MULTIPLE birds with ONE stone. Allow me to set the stage:

TAE KWON DO. I expressed to the children that I am unsure that they should continue attending Tae Kwon Do. It is $275 that I could save given that: a) They do not practice as they should (50% is done in the dojang, 50% at home – they practice at home only the week of a tournament or belt test). b) They don’t keep up with household chores and homework as a unit. c) Conduct overall could be better between home and school as a three part unit.

The kids each had to present an argument to me to convince me to allow them to continue Tae Kwon Do, beginning with the youngest. This skill was a little harder to develop for her. I had to break it way down for her. She is used to the older ones being her mouthpiece. I did not allow this at all. She had to speak for herself. I had to rephrase the prompt several times, in several ways… AND, be comfortable with the silence… Not an easy feat for me. BUT, I did it! (SUCCESS!!!) <silent cheer> Her (final) answer: “Tae Kwon Do is important to me because we learn new stuff, like blocks and strikes, and change belts, and learn other new stuff.”

Middle child, my son, intelligent kid. He attempted to “agree with what (I) said.” Nice try kid. You are not allowed to agree with what I said. That’s not what we are doing here. “Tae Kwon Do is important because it gives us something to do, and it teaches us how to defend ourselves.”

Last, but not least, my eldest, who was itching to go… “I would like to stay in Tae Kwon Do because it teaches us self-defense for ourselves, and each other. I go to the bus stop alone, and may not have time to call for help. Aiden will defend Jaide. Soon, Jaide will go to the bus stop alone, and she will be able to defend herself better if we stay in. Also, we can help defend you. My goal is to become a black belt and go to the Olympics, I have had that since I was a White Belt, a month in… It would matter to me, if we quit. I really like the sparring and learning new techniques, the tournament was fun.”

The younger two had not thought of where they would like to go, goal-wise, with Tae Kwon Do. So, I posed the question, “If you don’t know where you want to go in Tae Kwon Do, if I take it away tomorrow, or next year, it won’t matter, right?” Eyes widened. Lips trembled. “It does matter.” “I would be sad.” Bingo.

We were never actually able to complete our conversation… Ugh, so upset about that… We will, tonight at dinner… I am very proud of them, to finally have been able to get to the root of how they feel about something.

I know Michaela was giving me lip service. She knows how to say stuff. She thinks I’m dumb, haha. The other two, I appreciate their honesty.

I learned something as well: You don’t have to have the answers for why you want something. Just live in the moment.

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