How to Build Your Child's Confidence - Hint: You Don't Need Martial Arts!

How to Build Confidence in Your Child


The Link Between Confidence and Self-Esteem

Confidence can be defined as "a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities. It is no secret that confidence is a vital component of self-esteem. Self-esteem impacts everything we do in our lives. Those who have a strong sense of self-esteem enjoy more success in school, relationships, career, and life. However, research also shows that those with low self-esteem are at risk of engaging in risky, destructive behavior and is even linked to mental health disorders.

For many kids, their confidence is under attack from multiple sources. Take for example young Johnny who has trouble focusing in class. Like most young kids, he is good natured and has a lot of energy. At school though he struggles. It isn't that he lacks intelligence, it is just that sitting in his seat for hours at a time is tough. His teacher has labeled him a "problem" and has been sending home reports to mom. Johnny now believes that he can't focus because, in his mind, his teacher told him so. His confidence takes a hit. On top of that, when mom talks to him at home about his problem focusing, his self-esteem takes another dive because he is hearing the same message at school and at home. 

The truth is that all of us grow up being reminded of what we can't do. When we were little we heard "don't run in the house," "you can't have that" and "that is make-believe." Of course, these things are told to us to keep us from hurting ourselves and having unrealistic expectations, but what we perceive when we are little is that "we can't." I am not suggesting that parents begin letting their kids do whatever they want, but what we need to do is make sure that we are actively building our child's confidence so that they grow up and become the best version of themselves. 


The Root of All Success

Through my many years of martial arts, I have gotten the opportunity to see first hand the effects of confidence on performance, in both positive and negative ways. When I was a young teenager I had zero self-esteem. I was being bullied at school, had mediocre grades and struggled in social situations with my peers. By enrolling in a karate program I learned how to believe in myself and that lead to me graduating from college and becoming a successful sales person and business owner. In fact, at the University of Delaware, I was getting all A's and B's as I earned a degree in psychology and I was inducted into a couple of national honor societies. This was a stark difference from where I was just a few short years previously. 

However, I also have seen the effects of having little confidence. In my martial arts school, students were not required to spar. For those who are unfamiliar, sparring is when you put on boxing gloves and test your skills against an opponent. I loved working against an opponent so for the 5 years of training leading up to my black belt test I went to sparring class every single week. I was super excited on the final day of my black belt test when my instructor told all nine of us who were being evaluated to put on our sparring gear. Out of the nine candidates who were on the test there were four of us who sparred regularly. The rest of the candidates never attended sparring class. As the rounds began, it became very clear who had confidence in their skills and who did not. The group of us who sparred regularly not only performed better during the contact portion of the test, but we performed more confidently in every section of the exam. Our confidence in being able to apply our skills against a live opponent positively affected every aspect of our martial arts performance. However, the candidates who were less confident in sparring also performed poorly in kata, basics, and techniques. 

The truth is that confidence is the foundation of everything we do. If one is more confident in cooking, it stands to reason that they will prepare more delicious meals. Those who are more confident speaking in public, also benefit from this in more personal interactions and conversation. When our confidence is shaky, we actually perform lower than expected a lot of the time. This lack of belief in our skills causes us to hesitate, over think, lack decisiveness and hold back. All of these things result in a performancethat is lower than our potential.

Another thing about confidence that I find amazing is that it can transfer from one skill to another. Many of us know that man or woman who seems to be able to do anything. They excel in career and life and it is almost like they have a superpower. In my experience, I have found that those who have a strong sense of confidence in one skill, apply that self-assuredness to other tasks. The result is that they do not hold back, bounce back from mistakes, and they try their best.By approaching new endeavors like this it is no wonder why they are successful at all they do!

To be honest, if were not for my confidence in martial arts I never even would have enrolled in college, let alone do well and graduate. The way I figured it was that if I could learn how to take punches, I could definitely write a twenty-page paper and get an A. More often than not, I was correct.

The Proof is In The Pudding

To help explain what I mean when I say that confidence in one skill can transfer to other things, let me give you the short version of my life story.

By the time I was thirteen years old, I did not believe I was good at anything. Because of my rock bottom self-esteem I was letting myself get pushed around by bullies, did just enough to get by in school to avoid trouble at home, and I was hanging out with the kids in my neighborhood who were smoking cigarettes (and soon after marijuana.) I tried football, baseball and wrestling where I spent my time riding a bench. 

My mom and dad put me in karateand since it was not a team sport, I felt that I was doing better. Unlike at school and on the field, my karate instructors were telling me all of the things that I could do, as opposed to focusing on what I could not. After some time, I joined the karate studios demonstration team and became an assistant instructor. 

Fast forward a few years and I am in college working towards a degree in criminal justice. I chose that field of study because I thought that I was not quite smart enough to handle psychology. However as my freshmen year finished up, I earned my karate black belt and that was just the boost my confidence needed. I switched majors and earned the degree that Iw anted to earn because I believed that I could.

The confidence that I gained in karate transferred to college. After graduating I pursued a successful career in sales. As time progressed I started to revisit an old pipe dream: to run my own martial arts school. As a young karate student, the only job I wanted was to be an instructor. However, as I got older I heard about how hard it is to run your own business. I started believing the stories that most businesses are risky, they fail and you can lose everything.

Then again, I realized that if I could be successful in sales, I could be successful in running my own business. My decision was made and I opened up my martial arts school. Sure, it was hard but without confidence, I would have never even tried to make it on my own. Now my business is thriving, I have multiple employees and we are positively impacting people's lives every day.

From that success I have gone on to open another business outside of the martial arts industry, with no formal training I have authored and published multiple books and I have launched online courses teaching goal setting, self-defense, and other skills.

This is not shared to boast, but to show the power that gaining confidence in one skill can have on overall success.


The Three Step Process to Building Confidence in Anything!!

Over the years I have been fortunate to have been taught how to build confidence in any skill, and due to my position as a martial arts instructor, I have had the opportunity to test and refine this process. I cover this method fully in my book Samurai Parenting Secrets:7 Steps to Give Your Child More Focus, Discipline and Confidence from a Martial Arts Expert and am now sharing it with you for free!

STEP ONE: Set a Goal

This seems simple but you would be surprised how few people actually set any REAL goals. To gain confidence in a skill it is best to set a clear goal as opposed to one that is vague or difficult to measure. For example, if you wanted to become great at baking cakes simply having a goal to become great at baking cakes is not optimal. Being great at anything is subjective therefore hard to achieve. In this case, it would be better to have a goal of being able to make your own cake recipe from scratch or to be able to bake it without it burning. These goals are measurable and therefore it will be clear when you achieve them. 


STEP TWO: Have a Plan

If you have a goal but no plan to achieve it you are just wishing. In the example above, if after setting the goal of being able to bake a cake from scratch you spend little to no time actually learning the process, you are just playing make-believe. The plan should not only be formulated, you should dedicate time to working on this plan daily.


The final piece to this confidence-building recipe (no pun intended: ) is to test your progress. If one were to set a goal of being able to make their own cake from scratch, and they execute a plan of gathering the ingredients, learning the methods and putting together the batter the final step is to put it in the oven. This is the test, and afterward, the results will be clear. Now, this test could end in failure yet it does not mean that you will not build confidence, the reverse is actually true!

By following this method, even when you fail you gain confidence. This is the case because by following a plan you can look back at to what went wrong. With that knowledge, you can go back to the drawing board and fix the mistakes. On the other hand, if you were to have no plan and just try to bake a cake from scratch if it fails your confidence could take a hit. You might tell yourself that you "don't know how to do it" or that you are "no good" at baking and give up.

To build confidence, this three-step process is vital and should be followed.


How to Help Your Kid Build Confidence

Now that you know the three-step process it is time to put it into action. If your child wants to get better at coloring, math, sports etc, you need to help them set a clear goal for improvement. After setting this goal work with them on a plan and then set a date or time to test for improvement. This is why I said in the subtitle that you do not need martial arts to build confidence, you just need to apply this process to anything.

I believe in the three-step process so fully that I have built my entire martial arts curriculum with it as the foundation of every single class. Let me explain. Unlike other martial arts schools, we actively teach things like discipline, focus, and control whereas other schools just make hollow promises with no plan or test. 

Let's take focus as an example. We have classes dedicated to building focus in the students so we make that very clear att he beginning of the class. We also explain what improved focus will look like. From there, our plan will be to run two to three drills designed to improve the students focus. Finally, at the end of the class, we will test every student to see if they have made an improvement. We follow this same outline for balance, self-defense, control, discipline and more.


Where to Go from Here

Now that you know the importance of confidence and how to build it in yourself and your child it is time to make a decision. What skill are you going to look to improve first? If you are looking to martial arts for your child then you have to decide whether our school is right for you.

To find out more about Revolution Modern Martial Arts:

Call us at (919) 359-1776




I hope that you enjoed the content of this book and I wish you success in all that you do!

Scot Schwichow





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