This week marks the end of a karate era for our home. For nine months our four year old Joshua has been taking karate classes at a local studio learning how to punch, kick, stand at attention, defend against teachers with cushions and yell "ai-ya!" He hated going half the time but once he was lined up he got into it and did fairly well. He competed winning a trophy and a medal and earned several belts getting as high as orange. But then a conversation with his day school teacher alerted us to bad behaviors. One day when picking him up, his friend was crying holding his mouth. Apparently Joshua had just punched his friend in the mouth. Surprised, I put him into time-out right there on the playground with all friends and a teacher watching. He pleaded to just go home but I stood my ground that his behavior was unacceptable and would not be ignored. We talked about what he did, reminded him how bad that was and told him if he hit anyone again we would stop going to karate.

Two weeks later his teacher told us he had punched a kid in the stomach. Karate was over.

For selfish reasons I'm glad karate is over because I was getting tired of taking him two times a week. It forced me to leave work early and made us fret over whether one day was gloves day or not. That's me whining. The real reason I'm glad karate is over is because I don't want him to learn conflict resolution by punching or kicking. I want him to use his words or even walk away from stressful moments, not lash out like a two year old. And for a child that, I am convinced, is practically ADHD with poor impulse control, karate wasn't a good match.

I'm not sure what the next class will be. Swimming is in early summer but for only two weeks. Maybe Spanish or dance or science depending on his interest in these topics. Whatever it is, I don't support punching and kicking until he's more mature.

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