Soft Parenting – the other side

Soft Parenting – the other side

I have never met a bad child but I have met many parents that need help.

I have spent a great amount of the last 20 years undoing the damage that has been done by parents not being parents.

As a Martial Arts instructor I get the other side of parenting (known as soft parenting or gentle parenting) where the parent has tried to befriend their child and now the child is out of control. I get told, “My child has no respect, no focus can you please help?”

Our children have a school ground full of friends but they generally only have two parents. Of course, this number changes for single and blended families where children may have one, three or even four parental figures in their households.

Another thing I often get asked is, “How come my kid is so well behaved with you but out of control at home?”

It’s simple. I have guidelines, boundaries and consequences just like real life.

When I went to school it was standard to call your teacher Mr. or Miss. I still don’t know the first names of my teachers.

When we leave school and enter the work force nobody cares about giving you an achievement award. There are no participation ribbons in life and, it’s important our children learn these harsh realities.

The younger people are coming out of school ill-equipped for the real world ..

The first lesson I give to parents is this: Use that ‘bad word.’ Say NO and mean it. Don’t back down. You are the parent. And you are right.

It is time that we took back the power of parenting and told the do-gooders to go and have their own kids. Nobody said it was easy but get it right and it is the greatest thing you will ever do.

My parents and teachers used to smack me when I was bad and I am sure all parents will remember a similar lesson in discipline (one that is frowned upon today). But the truth is, it didn’t cause me any long term damage. We all grew up respecting the police and our parents.

I don’t support child abuse in any form but without guidelines and rules there is no structure. And without structure, children cannot thrive.

So, to all parents out there, stop living the dream. Step up and do the job you asked for. Be a parent, your kids future depends on you.

I have been a parent for 25 of the best years of my life. And, no, it has not all been clear sailing but I wouldn’t have missed a minute.

Barry Hampton, Chief instructor Choi Kwang Do Cairns.