Are We Sparring?

Impulse Control Self-Monitoring

Impulse control is a daily challenge for my child, with two different arenas of performance.

Public.  Private.

Sounds familiar?

In public, at taekwondo, John is sensory-averse.

He is very hesitant to strike (“tag”) another child during sparring or in the self-defense hands-on practice.

However, at home, he can become sensory-seeking, usually as a consequence of frustration.

Now we have opportunity for teachable moments.

(I say) “If you want to spar, you have to tell me”.

We then go through the purposeful ceremony to begin official sparring.

We practice the hand and foot movements, always seeking faster, faster, faster.

On the other hand, sometimes he is just frustrated.

And now we are working on his own use of re-directs for impulse control.

Can he know the difference, and can he also use his skills?

We keep the boundaries of “no hitting”.  Zero tolerance for that (link).

I say, “It’s OK to be angry.  You get to do that in the bathroom, so give yourself a time out.” (link)

And he knows (because we have practiced it over and over), that he can come out when (and only then) he chooses to be ready.

Sometimes we go in and out of the bathroom for a while.

That happens.

But he knows there is no point in trying to renegotiate.

Sometimes my teenager is in the room, and has actually said (more than once), “do you think the answer is going to change, John?”

We talk about why his self-regulation and his self-control is so very vital for his future.

May this help in your house.

Peace be with us,



“I Don’t Know, You Pick”

An Invitation to Steer My Kid's Choices

Putting new foods in his own mouth,

overcoming oral defensiveness and thus sensory acceptance,

is a big deal,

a major achievement.

Mom wanted Mexican food, but he didn’t want anything on the kid’s menu.

I asked several ways, even asked him to circle what he wanted.

He kept saying he wanted me to choose.

So I did.

Tortilla soup:  Veggies and chicken.

It’s what I eat.

And so did he.

I couldn’t believe it.

I thanked the angels.

We were sitting in the loud chaotic bar area, eating vegetable soup.

For the first time.

And, as a bonus, when we were back home and I told him it had to be a “new” movie,

He told me to choose.

So I picked Mary Poppins.

Before that, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Great old movies for kids and families.

So, if your child asks you to help him/her with a stretch,

give them a real stretch, the stretch of your dreams.

May this work at your house.

Peace be with us,





“Stand Like a Leader”

An X-Rays Strategy

John had to get some x-rays today.

Many of them.

Lots of “standing still”, “put your hands here”, “put your chin here”, “don’t breathe”, and “don’t move!”

Memories of your last mammogram experience?

Anyway, he decided to translate it all into the taekwondo playbook:

“Stand like a leader”

His face got all puckered up.  He stood at rigid attention.

Utter concentration.

It is glorious how dearly John treasures his time being ordered around by black-belts.

He did just great with the x-rays, generalizing the taekwondo mindset into the doctor world.

We also use piano concepts in taekwondo.

In fact, we cross-pollinate at every possible opportunity.

Maybe this can help in your world?

Peace be with us,



“Go Back And Get It”

Retrieving Left Behind Stuff

It is a simple thing to say:  make your child go back and get what they left behind,

but what if that was a risky journey?

John left a journal behind.

To retrieve it would include an elevator ride and a different floor in a big hospital.

I said I would wait for him.

He didn’t need much persuasion, as we have been practicing solo elevator rides and other-floor-journeys for some time.

We also practice shopping cart returns across busy parking lots.

We play “find Mom in the grocery store” games, in spite of Stranger Danger and fears of getting lost.

So, it turned out dandy.  John was proud of his accomplishment.

Loss of 5 minutes.

No big deal there,

given the trade-up in self-esteem and willingness to try the unknown.

Risk tolerance—practice it with our kids.

Failure or success:  both teach something.

Peace be with us,