Wednesday, July 20, 2016

the wrong medicine

I know what it's like to have a child who struggles. My oldest had debilitating asthma attacks from the time he was 6 months old until early high school. Trips to the emergency room with a toddler turning blue is a unique experience I wouldn't wish on anyone. As a parent, you can't fix this. You can't breathe for your own kid. The only thing you can do is hope like hell that the experts can fix it for you.

Sometimes they can. Sometimes they can't. Sometimes all modern medicine could do was load my 2 year old (who became 6 who became...) up on oral steroids after trips to the ER and keep our fingers crossed while we superimposed a temporary case of hardcore ADHD so he could breathe. It sucked.

So I get it when parents struggle and search to fix something they feel they can't but somehow are expected to fix. With the asthma, soccer coaches would look at him and me and talk about "conditioning" and pull little man on the bench. Sigh.

Working with me at our training center is a naturally brilliant kid's instructor. He's well-trained but that's not what makes him brilliant - he really wants his little students to excel. But he's not there to fix medical problems. Recently, I got a call from a mom invoking the 30 Day cancellation notice for her son, it's the first time we've talked to the mom....up until now it's been all dad.  I always ask for feedback on a cancellation because it helps me know if there is something we can fix.

"He's having fun and he's learning but his dad was hoping it would teach him more discipline." This follows an admission by dad to aforementioned brilliant instructor that the young man in question was diagnosed (this past year) with ADHD. It's not uncommon for latency aged kids with ADHD to have aggression issues and on the mat in a self-defense program our kid in question had trouble with his aggression toward the other kids; a lot of trouble. The instructor worked with the dad and was committed to helping this little guy to success.

Then the backstory comes out. They were hoping training in self-defense would teach him to control what his brain could not. However a parent chooses to address the medical needs of their child is a deeply personal dynamic and regardless of my beliefs - I respect those choices. That being said - here's an important announcement:

Kids Krav Maga (or any other martial art) will not fix or cure a medical condition. Teaching kids to punch, hit, kick and defend against the same will give them choices and options for control. Teaching kids to defend themselves (and punch, hit and kick) will not wake up the latent screening system in the kid's brain. ADHD etc. is a medical issue. The filter that allows humans to screen incoming data for importance is not working as intended. All the incoming data hits the brain with equal force. Taking a 45 minute class in self-defense a couple times a week is not going to fix that. 

Bring your kids to train with us.  We love our Littles and we have a fantastic instructor team who want nothing more than for our Tiny Humans to succeed. No matter how much we empathize with the struggles of parenting, our training program has a specific set of goals, as does every other martial arts program for kids. If your Little has something s/he struggles with, let us know. Let us work with you and with your Little. But if you use a martial arts program as a means of doctor/cure shopping, you will be disappointed.

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