I just want to start out by saying that I don't have children. But I have "raised" many children in one area of their life. I have taught martial arts for over 10 years now and every day is wonderful. I have a majority of children for students and my Grandmaster would say they are my specialty. He says he can't even figure out how I can get a child to go from almost no attention span to a hour long attention span. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.
Every child I have ever taught began with the moment of truth. Children love to test their boundaries. They love to see what they can get away with and where your buttons are. Sometimes they don't realize they are doing this. Other times, they know exactly what they are doing. As a teacher, the best way I have found to get over this hump is to not give in at all. I try not to use the word no but I'm very firm with the rules. And of course, part of that is having to deal with the usual basket of attempts to get out of class. My favorite being the tummy ache. I just simply say "Aww, well, let's try to finish the next part of class and see how you feel". Usually, their tummy ache vanishes after that because they realize they can't fool me. And you can always tell if it's a real tummy ache or a fake one. All you have to do is mention doing more class or more chores. If they whine about doing the work, then it's a fake one. If they whine about their tummy, it might be a real one. When they whine about their tummy even more, try to get them to do a little work and then leave them alone for a minute. After awhile, look at them when they can't see it. You'll know for sure at that point. You're not being mean but you are trying to show them that skimping out of work just because it's hard is not a good thing to do. People who give in end up creating spoiled children whether or not they meant to do so in the first place. Many first time parents give in to everything because they don't realize it's a lot easier to change a no to a yes then it is to change a yes to a no.
Earning the respect of a child is very difficult. It really is. I applaud people who can gain the trust and respect of a child. Mothers have the easiest time to gain and lose a child's respect. Fathers are close to them. But an outside person has the best chance because you end up treating another person's kids different then your own. There are days when I feel bad when a child shows they are more willing to listen to me then their own parents. Especially when they give me that look of jealousy. For example, at the end of class I let the kids run around and play tag. Sometimes I play with them and we have plenty of fun. Well, when their parents arrive, they usually want to stay. And the parents can't always get them to leave. But I can. I just say one word and the kid responds "Yes sir" (side note, all instructors in my school are called sir regardless of gender) and gets ready to go. The parents tend to just stare at me. I feel bad because I can't figure out how to politely explain that they would obey them if they would just respect their kids more. Ah well, either they will learn or their kids will just start respecting them period. Another example I have is a moment when the child was getting picked up by his mother and he started to pick on his little sisters. I kinda just jumped in and scolded on reflex and merely told him "What did I tell you to have with little kids?" He responded "Patience" His mother was very shocked but pleased. Her son had been a little short with a lot of the kids in class so I started teaching him about patience. I found out that it's been rubbing off and he treats his sisters a little better now. That made me happy.
Now, I was going to go into my whole explanation of getting a child's attention span increased but I think I'll leave that for next because it'll be a lengthy post. Oh, and the tips I have also work wonders on people with ADD.
Until next time!