martial arts for relatives child

lonecoyote

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Hello all, I just got back from a visit with a relative (nephew) I hadn't seen in a while. He has a great, smart, inquisitive four year old. He really is a super kid, but he is, well, a handful. My nephews wife brought it up to my wife that they have taken him to a doctor but my nephew is against medicating him, especially at such a young age. I can understand that. As we were headed out of town my wife told me about this. I really think martial arts could help this kid, so, how do I bring this up? They live in a city, so there is no shortage of schools or styles for them to choose from. Anybody have any recommendations for what kind of place to look for? This kid has an overabundance of energy, and though he is really a great kid, he also has a little bit of a mean streak, so that might factor into what kind of style to choose. I brought this up here because I've gotten a lot of great advice from this site and the knowledgeable people who come here.
 

Rob Broad

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As much as it pains me to say this, I woudl send him to a real disciplinarian. The strict class structure will teach him to curb him mean streak, and the exercise will burn off the energy.

I would come straight out and say that martial arts would be a great alternative to medication for the child. You can find tons of articles on the benefits of martial arts for hyperactie children on the web. Probably even here on MT there should be lots of info for you.
 

Feisty Mouse

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I think any good instructor will keep discipline in the class. I would try to find someone who has some discipline, obviously, but who the kids going there really seem to like. If he's got a mean streak, he'll more likely listen to/obey someone who is firm but he also respects. If there's just an instructor barking orders, that might give him a more negative/harsh role model to model himself after, which won't help.
 

Zepp

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I have relatives that had similar issues with several of their kids (they've got 3 boys and 1 girl). The father and two of the boys started taking Judo together. Seems to be good for them all on several different levels. I think having something that bonds family together like that might make a child want to listen to their parents more often.
 
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Firona

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For a child with a mean streak I would first think of placing them in a class like Aikido which teaches defensive style martial arts. At the same time a good disciplinarian/authority figure would probably do the trick too and as Aikido doesn't have a lot of jumping and kicking (to use his energy on) there is that to consider as well.
 

TigerWoman

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My instructor was good with kids. I helped "teach" 4-5 year olds for 3 years. Not many were actually the perfect or even a good student. They are a totally different group. They need structure, they need reward, they need constant change in activities. They need activities like running alot, going around over, jumping. The reward was breaking at the end. They loved to break even though at first actually awhile, they had difficulty even with the rebreakable that was practically falling apart by itself. But their faces light up and they will try harder the next time. But for the ones who refused to stop talking, or wouldn't sit still in place and do the stretches, those were a challenge. One little girl, wouldn't do anything, would just leave the room.
I was the one who spent the time with her to get her interested - kick the bag with her, run with her etc. He was the disciplinarian who would make her stand still with eyes closed for a few minutes as punishment or withhold the breaking part. They hated closing their eyes. Even that was hard - probably the worst since they wanted to be the "star" disrupter of the room. But it gives me warm feelings when I saw them advance and change. But its really the parents that keep them coming back at first.
The parents have to be committed. And you have to find the right instructor. Watch classes in different schools who have classes for just that age group. Alot of schools won't even accept them until they are 8 or so, because of the need of special attention. It is a much better solution than medication. They told me my daughter needed that - she didn't, she just couldn't handle the move. Now they say ritalin causes other medical problems so don't do that! Good luck...TW
 

Ceicei

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I know of two close friends who have ADD/ADHD children. The doctors also told them to put their children on ritalin. My friends didn't want to, so chose to try out martial arts. The combined exercise and discipline has taught their children to extend their attention and focus and calmed them down to be more manageable.

It's worth a try. Just be sure the instructor knows how to be firm and makes class both challenging and fun for the kids.

- Ceicei
 

Phoenix44

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4-year olds have a VERY short attention span. I've "taught" martial arts to 4 year olds. In most cases, you don't "teach" them, but you can get them focused and socialized--which is a fine goal, I think.

The specific art is not important. What IS important is that he be in a program specifically for little kids, for example, Melody Shuman's "Little Ninjas" program. A number of schools throughout the country offer them. You don't want babysitting, but on the other hand, you want the instructor to have realistic expectations for a 4 year old.
 
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lonecoyote

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Thanks, everybody, I appreciate it. It sounds like teaching children is a pretty special skill, taking discipline mixed with understanding. I hope that they can find someone like Tigerwoman. Its funny, but kids, sometimes, as far as respect goes, are better judges of character than adults. I think they should visit a few places with their child, and listen to him and take his opinion into account. As far as styles, I think it isn't as important as finding the right teacher. Having said that, do you think there is any thing that should set off alarm bells? I'm probably going to bring this up the next time we visit.
 

Rob Broad

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Phoenix44 said:
The specific art is not important. What IS important is that he be in a program specifically for little kids, for example, Melody Shuman's "Little Ninjas" program. A number of schools throughout the country offer them. You don't want babysitting, but on the other hand, you want the instructor to have realistic expectations for a 4 year old.

That program is amazing and any child would benefit from it. You just don't want to child going to a school where the kids dictate to the under trainined assistant instructor which is often the case.
 

terryl965

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I always believe that the MA is a great way for younger childern to learn respect and to get out there aggressions. I also believe that you need to find a school that the childern are well respective towards there instructor, so many schools nowadays let parents and childern dictate the way they teach. GOD BLESS AMERICA
 

tshadowchaser

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For a child with a mean streak I would first think of placing them in a gym class, or a swimming program. Give them something that can burn off energy, build muscle and attention span while not showing them anything that an hurt someone.
I love the martial arts but some kids (and adults) should never step inside a school. IMHO
I do not know this child or his family so I could be totaly wrong.
It might be that a good instructor can help him learn to respect others and to help not hurt. If he is placed in a school be sure to hve his parents check out the school, its program, and how the kids classes are taught and what is emphised. At home his parents will need to watch to se if he misuses what he is shown.
 
O

OC Kid

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Maybe sports such as soccer might be better for him. Personally I think M/A for a child under the age of 7 is a waste.
 
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Firona

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OC Kid said:
Personally I think M/A for a child under the age of 7 is a waste.
I think the problem with starting young is that a good deal of kids will forget anything they learned at 7 once they reach 13. So placing your (or someone elses for that matter) child in a MA class can be sort of a gamble.
 

shesulsa

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If you're going to recommend martial arts as the alternative, then help them find a teacher who already has challenged kids in his/her class that you can see their working technique. Just signing him off to a strict disciplinarian isn't the only answer - to truly help a child with energy abundance, you need a teacher or teachers that have a high energy level too. They work fast, alternate drills until the students are just about to drop from exhaustion, then work focused areas more. High energy kids need frequent breaks - as simple as calling for a uniform check for the entire class - the entire class, that is - so that the child feels a part of the entire class and the emphasis on his individuality is reduced - this is important in aiding his ability to flow with the guided social structure and perform well in school and in life. Taking the time in focused, one-on-one activities, like teaching a form or cleaning up a technique will give him that required individual focus and prepare him.

The key is to burn the energy, then work the mind and body together...make sense?

And you really need to talk to instructors and find their approach. In my opinion, these kids who are just disciplined period without the interest of behavior modification or social interaction or transitional activity is just going to beat the child down for later problems, especially related to anger.

Guidance - not punishment.
 

Phoenix44

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Firona said:
I think the problem with starting young is that a good deal of kids will forget anything they learned at 7 once they reach 13. So placing your (or someone elses for that matter) child in a MA class can be sort of a gamble.
So I guess you also think that since infants won't really remember anything by the time they get to first grade, there's no point reading to them, or taking them to the zoo, or even talking to them. This line of thinking puzzles me. True, they may not "remember" what you "taught" them, but they will profit from the attention. This has been proved time and time again by early childhood programs such as Head Start. And infants who are deprived of stimulation are seriously damaged. (Though I confess that I think people who play trans-uterine classical music to their fetuses need to get a life)

Age appropriate training such as the "Little Ninjas" program is designed to improve focus, discipline, coordination, teamwork and other skills that will serve as the foundation for later martial arts training.
 
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Firona

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Sure they still benifit from the MA training like you say. My thought was if, like many people I know, they stop or 'take a break' from the MA they then have to start all over from the beginning because they forgot it all and some people end up thinking that that is a waste in the grand scope of things.
 

Feisty Mouse

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I think for the perspective of the problem here - discipline, focus, perhaps combating this mean streak - the benefits would not go away, even if the child stopped training later in life.
 

shesulsa

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Feisty and Firona, you both have good points - actually I think it depends upon the child as to the longevity of the positive effects of martial training should s/he stop or break training.

I do think that "the program" for this child should be long-term and if there is any question as to the misuse of martial knowledge on his behalf, some other non-contact sport with similar coaching skills should be substituted.

Respectfully
 

DeLamar.J

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lonecoyote said:
Hello all, I just got back from a visit with a relative (nephew) I hadn't seen in a while. He has a great, smart, inquisitive four year old. He really is a super kid, but he is, well, a handful. My nephews wife brought it up to my wife that they have taken him to a doctor but my nephew is against medicating him, especially at such a young age. I can understand that. As we were headed out of town my wife told me about this. I really think martial arts could help this kid, so, how do I bring this up? They live in a city, so there is no shortage of schools or styles for them to choose from. Anybody have any recommendations for what kind of place to look for? This kid has an overabundance of energy, and though he is really a great kid, he also has a little bit of a mean streak, so that might factor into what kind of style to choose. I brought this up here because I've gotten a lot of great advice from this site and the knowledgeable people who come here.

I would recomend not to put him a kickboxing or boxing school because those types of styles can make a person dangerous to quickly in my opinion without learning proper control, dicipline, respect. Make sure he goes to a Martial arts school that is geared more toward dicipline and tradition.
 
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