Monday, December 11, 2017

Ninja Parenting tips 101

Ninja Parenting tips 101 - By Allie Alberigo - Shihan 

When why daughter was a young child - I used every technique and trick I knew to get compliance and results. Have you ever had a problem with getting your child to do what you want? Having asked numerous times, reasoned and even bribed with no results? Sometimes it seems you are at your wits end and ready to give up. But all is not lost, sometimes is it not a matter of having a difficult or bad child. It is the simple lack of knowledge and tools/weapons a parent has in their arsenal to get the desired results. Try these little tricks to lower your stress level and get better results when you need them. 

Some answers to your issues come straight from the martial art floor of a Ninja Master. I have been teaching martial arts for over 35 years. Running a school in my town for 27 years and also, performing and training in the martial arts for 50 years this year (2017 when this was written). If that isn’t enough, I am also the proud parent of a college girl, who is excelling in her first year at Oneonta state, in Oneonta NY. 

Try some ageless tips. 

1) Instead of using reasoning, turn all obstacles or lack of motivation into a contest. Do not personally compete, because that could open up an entirely new can of worms for you. Utilizing time as your assistant and if necessary the bad buy. I remember when my daughter was young, I would ask for her to get into her Pajama’s and she would drag her feet. She obviously didn’t want to go to bed and the connection to the P.J.’s made her feel like that was in the immediate future. I would say, “hey, I will time you and you see how quick you can put on your P.J’s. Yesterday you did it in 2 minutes. Can you beat that. Are you ready? Set. Go…………….” She would be running to her bedroom. It was amazing at how quick she loved to get her P.J’s on at that point. There were no hassles or stress. It was simply a race against the clock and fun for her. We used this with many activities – and the results were similar. Heck I use this in my school all the time. You can use your creative imagination. 

2) Setting a clear understanding of actions and consequences. Most of the time in my martial art school I witness parents threatening punishment if their child doesn’t perform a specific task. If the child doesn’t comply many parents simple brush over it and they do not follow up. This leads the child to believe they are empty promises or threats and they have no consequences for their action. 

The goal of course is to show the child you mean what you say. You must follow up and follow through. Also, establish a clear understanding of what the punishment is and also why they are receiving it. I would often ask my daughter after she didn’t do something properly “if that is the way she is expected to act?” Sometimes I would say “would a Ninja act like that?” She would reply with a logical answer and say “no.” Then I would reply with okay then don’t act like that and I will not permit it or (then I would lay out the punishment). “Do we understand each other?” Very rarely did I ever have to punish her. She clearly understood right from wrong and that I meant business. 

3) Do not allow yourself to lose your cool. Speak in a calm voice no matter how frustrated you are. If you need time to step away and gather your thoughts, do so. Remember there is only one letter that separates Danger and Anger. If you can sort through your feelings in a calm tone expressing to your child how you feel they will be more empathetic and react properly. Think and speak to your child so you can think of your best line of action. Remember - Calm heart, calm mind. 

4) Set up clear rules that are age appropriate. Often within my school kids come to class unprepared. There are two different sets of parenting skills which I see on a daily basis. Those that will be hard noses and make their kids responsible for their action. They will allow their child to show up unprepared because they have asked and gotten no results so they have them deal with me. I am never happy if they are unprepared. So the parents know that the consequences will be dealt with at my school. However, what this does is make me out to be the bad guy and the parents the good guy. It doesn’t help me connect with the child and doesn’t create good habits at home and a respectful child. I would rather they didn’t use me as a tool to do this, but speak to me secretly and allow me to talk to the child without them even knowing. We use “Mat Chats” to accomplish this. This is where we talk to the entire class in hypotheticals and they hear it deeply because they know they just did that particular thing. However, they are not being reprimanded publically or by me as their teacher. 

The other set of parents blames themselves for the lack of preparedness. This to me is the same offense, just a different person to blame. However they are removing the level of responsibility from the child and putting it on themselves with no consequences what so ever. They also create a non-compliant child. This teaches the child it is okay not to come to class prepared. That it is no big deal and the wishes of the instructor rules of the school or public school are not a high priority. 

My suggestion is of an entirely different nature. I recommend setting up and creating good habits through continuous repetition. Always teaching the child a set way of doing things, leaving less room for error. In other words, continually setting time to prepare their uniform or do their homework. Make sure it is done the same time every day and in the same way. Make it a part of the child’s routine. This way, they do it without thinking and do not resist it. Nothing is worse than failing continuously and not doing anything to change the negative behavior. I teach my students to do personal inventory. Meaning checking and double checking what is needed for school, or for other sports or for their martial arts training. This lesson will help them in everything they do going forward in their life. It is not micromanaging; it is setting your child up for success 

Shihan Allie Alberigo is a parent, martial art instructor, Vegan and Animal Activist as well as public speaker, actor and the author of 5 books. If you have any questions or would like to see an article written on a particular parenting issue you are having, simply comment below or email us at

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