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Over the years of instructing, I have heard it hundreds of times – “My child was misbehaving so I didn’t allow him/her to come to class”. Strangely, after not hearing it for a while I have heard this, or something similar, from three sets of parents in the past two weeks. Most often, parents expect me to approve of this as a punishment. When my reaction is the opposite, some are quite surprised.

I always say that martial arts class should never be taken away as a punishment. It is totally counter-productive and will do more harm than good.

Kids Behaving Badly-bowing kidInitially, why do many parents send their kids to martial arts classes? Discipline, focus, structure, anger management, countless physical benefits… the list can go on and on. So you send kids to class to learn these things, but then take them away from the very thing that is teaching them to instill these practices when they act up? If anything, a parent should send them to more classes if they misbehave.Something that is a benefit to the child AND the parents should not be taken away as a punishment. Who is it that is actually being punished at the end of the day? The parents themselves? I think so!

If you are going to take something away, take away things that have no real benefit or aren’t going to improve the child. Often a parent will take away what the child loves as a punishment, but not everything that a child loves is bad for them. Martial arts are a good example of this.

Do you take a child out of school because they did something wrong at home? I doubt it. It should be the same with martial arts. Like school, it should be a priority for parents. There are many lessons and skills that a child will learn in class that are directly applicable to life.

Kids Behaving Badly-Instructor and studentsA child misses a class, and like in school, misses something crucial to the syllabus. Is it expected that everyone should be held back and repeat what was done for the benefit of the one? It is, maybe unknowingly to them, the parent who is being inconsiderate. Children learn by example – does this mean that the parent is unwittingly teaching their child how to be inconsiderate?

The benefits of sending your child to class far outweighs the cons. Please, keep this in mind the next time you want to punish your child by keeping them away from class.