One of the things that we have been working through lately is dealing with tantrums, mostly from our son. We’ve been having trouble with fits for a while now and we feel that he really lacked self control. So as a result we enrolled him in Kenpo.

Since he’s started Kenpo we’ve noticed that during the class time he does a pretty good job of paying attention and doing what he is supposed to do. There have been a view times when he screws around or doesn’t pay attention, but the instructor is very good about making sure that he gets back on track and chides him when necessary.We’ve been very pleased so far with how he is doing there, but we’ve noticed and interesting trend develop at home.

What we’ve observed at home is that his tantrums have actually gotten worse. Not necessarily the frequency of them, but rather the severity. In the past he would normally throw a fit for about ten to fifteen minutes and then he would get calmed down. Mostly this involved crying and lots of questioning on his part. The new thing is that the tantrums have lasted upwards of thirty minutes or more, and now we get the crying and questioning, plus jumping, kicking, throwing himself on the floor, and a stubborn refusal to do what he is told.

So the question in our lives has become: how do we translate the discipline he gets in Kenpo to our home life? Sadly this isn’t something that I have an exact answer for; I’ve tried working with him on various moves and techniques in an attempt to show him that it’s not just in the studio that we practice, but we do so at home as well. My thought is that he should connect the two, but sadly he hasn’t yet.

One of the techniques we have found to be very useful is to take away some of his favorite toys as a punishment. This has been very effective as a means of discipline for him. Right now he is very much enjoying his “pirate sword” that his Papa and Mamma (my parents) got him from our recent trip to Disneyland. He loves to run around the house wiping it around and fighting off pretend bad guys. Of course there are times when he hits things that he shouldn’t, like his sister, and we have to remind him not to hit people (a normal enough thing). So as punishment for his behavior we have been taking this away, usually for a day or two and trust me, he keeps track of that time. In fact he’s said things like, “When I get up tomorrow I get my sword back!”

As parents I feel that we need to find creative ways of discipline our children because, after all, each child is different. For our daughter a stern look or word is usually enough to make her burst into tears. I know others that have found time-outs, and yes, even spanking, to be effective for discipline. Try different things and see what works best for your kids. We as parents have a responsibility to raise them up in a godly way, and that means disciplining them when necessary.

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