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Discipline and Respect of Parents in A Judo Class

Discipline and Respect of Parents in A Judo Class

Parents are critical to the survival of most organizations that involve children. You have to keep them on your side, however, that does not mean that they should supplant your role of leadership when you are teaching.

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Discipline and Respect of Parents in A Judo Class

As far as possible I never contradict a parent's beliefs or culture but I am not limited by them either. I always listen to what a parent has to say and apply it as far as I can but at the same time, I let every parent know that I will not put aside my own beliefs and culture unless I can be shown that there is good reason to do so.

If I can accommodate a request from a parent I will but if I can't then I politely explain that I cannot. For example:

I had three Muslim children join my Judo club and they came to me after class one time and asked if they could avoid the kneeling bow at the start of class because it made them uncomfortable as it was so close to what they do in prayer time. This was easy to solve, we just did standing bows in the club and everybody was happy.

In contrast: when I ran before and after-school care programs, I was “given permission” by a parent to smack their child if he misbehaved. Such discipline would have ended me up in jail so I politely explained to the parent that whilst I greatly appreciated the trust they were putting in me with this action, I could not accommodate such a request and told them why.

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Talk to parents about discipline sparingly don't be a tattletale. I won't discuss the misbehaviour of students in class unless I need advice. What happens in class should as far as possible stay in class otherwise children will lose respect for you.

Unfortunately, not all requests are so straightforward and I have had to do some serious thinking as to how or if I can accommodate them if at all. The important point is to keep the parent involved and never disregard what they say or ask of you.

Medical Issues And Parents

Other times I have had to deal with medical issues and this is where parents come into their own as they are your best source of knowledge. I talk to all my parents about what works and what doesn't.

For example, Autism, ADD, ADHD, Epilepsy, vision issues, etc. none of these things stop a child from participating but you do need to know. All my students fill in medical information forms as part of their joining. I discourage complete medical histories but make sure my parents tell me what I need to know. That way I can talk to them as needed about the best management skills; both medical and discipline.

I have said above:

“Talk to parents about discipline sparingly don't be a tattletale. I won't discuss the misbehaviour of students in class unless I need advice. What happens in class should as far as possible stay in class otherwise children will lose respect for you.”

This is particularly true when dealing with children who have medical issues. Both parent and child are almost certainly overburdened with everybody giving them advice on how to deal with whatever the condition is. I don't need to compound that. I am never afraid to ask for advice but if a situation was dealt with in class that should be the end of it. If they ask me I'll tell them whatever they want to know but I don't volunteer information unless I need advice.

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The sort of advice I ask is what skills the child is working on at the moment and how the professionals are working on them. I do not ask what are the things the child cannot do. Always ask in the positive never in the negative.

Also, I will always take note of what parents tell me about the limitation of a child. Such things are important to be aware of. But I will not stop a child from going beyond those limitations unless there is a good medical reason. However, I will never do this in the blind; I will always keep the parents informed.

For example, I have had a child in my class with brain damage. It affects his motor skills on the right side. I ended up with the privilege of helping him develop that side. Otherwise, he is a normal child and I teach as such. As I do with all children with medical issues. I expect him to try everything but because I am armed with the correct medical information from the parent I can be patient with him if he doesn't succeed.

I am always very proud when parents come to me after I have finished a round of classes and tell me how pleased they are at their child's progress and how surprised they are at how much progress they have made. Including those that have medical issues. This is all because I do not have expectations about a child's limitations and teach them as I would any other child except with a bit more patience.

    Open Classes

    I have open classes; parents can come and go as they please. Doing so opens the doors to trust as nothing else does. Not only does it make the parents feel more confident but it improves behaviour because the children know they are being watched. It also means that new insecure children need never be far away from a familiar face.

    A big spin-off from open classes is it also protects me from any chance of being accused of misconduct. This is so even though by far and away most parents leave during class after a few weeks, to do other things.

    I took one of my own sons to a Karate class one time; as he expressed an interest. I discovered I was not allowed to remain in the class whilst the lessons were on. I was told this was because it gave the young people confidence that this was their class.

    I removed my child from the class. Such secret societies do not belong in today's world.

    A common objection to open classes is: but what if a child has issues at home? Experience tells me that you can be assured that any child who trusts you will soon find a way to reveal such issues. You don't need clandestine meetings to find such things out. You only need the child's trust.

    The downside of open classes is parents coaching from the side of the mat. I don’t let them take control of my class from the side of the mat. I don't know why other organizations do. A simple polite word in the ear of the parent after class will usually resolve this. I explain that such actions affect class management. Better still, if they seem to know what they are talking about I get them to be an assistant leader. I invite them on the mat to help. I can always use help.

      The Use Of Titles And Respect

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      Let me finish this very long section on parents with a personal rule. I never get upset with a student using my first name and in fact, off the mat, I encourage it. And whilst on the mat, I encourage the use of the term Sensei I never correct a student who uses my first name. There are many who say that using the first name of the teacher breeds disrespect, whereas the use of a title such as sir or Sensei encourages it. This is nonsense.

      I once asked my nieces why they insisted on calling me “uncle” when I had given them permission to call me Richard. They said that it was because they respected me.

      Having said that, if a parent insists that a child calls me “Mr” or “Sensei” I never correct that either. Parents should be given respect enough to be allowed to teach their child the attitudes and cultural forms that they believe is right for them. I don't have to subjugate my own values to let them do it.

      Respect is Earned Not Divinely Bestowed!” - Richard Roper

      Respect Of Parents Conclusion

      Parents are my biggest asset for everything in my Judo club, not just class management. Keeping them on my side will not only give you a wonderful resource but it is absolutely necessary.


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