Friday, January 21, 2011

Faking it - a symptom of too much TKD?

My children have sporadic sickness. The thing is, I think they are faking it. On top of that, I am pretty sure that their faking sickness is spreading like a virus. It seems like just about every night one of them has an excuse that they are too sick for Tae Kwon Do. My head hurts, my stomach hurts - you name it. On top of that, they are perfectly comfortable with going home and laying in bed instead of practicing. The problem with this is the fact that they clearly aren't sick.

First, out of the gate, I fully realize that the kiddos are probably doing too much Tae Kwon Do. If you do the math, they have five classes per week for a total of 5 hours. For Sydney and Graham this includes 2 regular classes, 2 team practices, and a sparring class. For Ainsley it is only 2 classes. Technically, Sydney and Graham are only required to go to the sparring class and the 2 team practices. However, they are going to the regular Tae Kwon Do classes because it is the hour before their team practices and Ainsley is in those classes. Since we are already there, they might as well participate, right? (Remember, we Dungans do everything together.) After all, it doesn't make much sense for them to sit on the bleachers. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that they are only going to those two extra classes out of convenience. Oh, and then, I should probably also point out that they have private lessons about once week. As you can see, they have a lot of Tae Kwon Do.

So, is this too much?

Hold on, don't answer yet. If it were that easy, I could have answered it for myself. The other side of the coin is that we are receiving some mixed signals. I should point out that both Graham and Sydney have asked for more private lessons. Furthermore, they have both identified that one of their major goals is to get a medal at Nationals. They fully understand (and take responsibility for the fact) that they must work hard if they are going to achieve that goal.

I want to be clear. It is not us telling them that they must work harder. They came up with that on their own. We are simply providing the opportunity. Clearly, in one sense they love Tae Kwon Do and everything that it brings them. On the other hand, they are faking sickness to get out of classes here and there.

So, given that, what is the answer?

My theory is to let Graham and Sydney sit out of the regular classes if they choose. Then, they can do homework or whatever they like. My only problem with this is that Graham will just sit there and play video games on his iPod. I would much rather see him reading or doing something that gets him up and moving. Sydney will do homework or read. In my book, I really don't see anything wrong with that.


I need some direction for my purpii.


Anonymous said...

In my opinion, if they are doing 5 hours a week of structured activity other than school, a bit of video gameing or whatever they like to do is fine. Kids need unstructured down time as much as they need scheduled, structured activities.

Gayle in AL

Anonymous said...

I agree with backing off a bit. To me, what you are describing is a possible warning sign that they may be lacking self confidence. They very much want to do tae kwon do but are afraid of failing, or even worse, being a disappointment. I say this as another parent of a rising tae kwon do "star", because I have seen the same exact behavior in my own child. So they become afraid to try, and the anxiety they sense in you as a result reinforces their fear that they are going to either fail or disappoint, because no matter how many times you say that this is their decision, they see the pride you have when they excel and how excited you become that they are on the road to success, that it becomes both a motivator and a hindrance. My advice, since you are asking, is to back off. Uphold that the minimum expectation from the school is x number of practices a week and it is their responsibility to keep that committment, but then let the extra practices be their choice and offer no reaction to whatever that may be. And the other part is that kids these days do have a lot of pressure. Sometimes we excuse that by saying when we were kids, we had to "tow the line" a lot harder and our kids have it way easier. But at the same time, our kids sometimes are not afforded the same simple pleasures of roaming the neighborhood from dawn to dusk, being outside with friends and neighbors, having their own world of adventures and stress relievers. Instead, everything is structured and full of expectations, deadlines, and pressure to compete. Just my food for thought.. I hope it was helpful. Good luck!