Train With Your Children

Published on by Samantha Faulhaber

There are reasons you put your kid(s) in Jiu-Jitsu. Maybe it's the biomechanical loads affecting their development (if you've been reading my stuff for long enough haha). Maybe it's to enable them to defend themselves if they ever need to. Maybe it's to get in shape. To have fun. To meet other children. To understand the ground. For competition glory. For fun!

Whatever the reason, it's good enough for you if it's good enough for your kids.

There is little that makes me happier than seeing a child and their parent both train. It can be a tremendous bonding experience and extremely helpful to me as a teacher knowing they can both relate. I think it is completely worth trying, even for a one-month sample. Inside tip: there is little that instructors dislike more than a vocal parent that thinks they know everything and has no recent experience on the mat. Often they tend to be the loudest critics and toughest on their kids. I don't actually have any of these parents at my school right now so you can't get me in trouble with this article!

Even if you don't want to get on the mat any time soon, I'd like you to break down the reasons that you did put your kid in Jiu-Jitsu. What benefits do you see? What benefits did or do you hope for? What elements in your life represent the benefits that you hope they are receiving? Caretakers of any kind often leave themselves for last. If you provide yourself with the strength and health and other qualities you wish for your kids then you will truly share with them. Each individual will have different things they are attracted to to fulfill their needs.

I want people in my classes that want to be in my classes. Everybody wins. Give you and your kids the chance to understand each other a little better. Show them that what is good enough for them is at least good enough for you. Providing for yourself shows them they can take care of themselves too.


I have also seen kids whose parents pack their days full. I wonder how often they ask the kid what they want to do. I'm sure it's well-intentioned to give them a sampling of many different experiences, and we only have so much time to try them in. What about allowing kids to sample the limitless possibilities that free time entails? I don't mean free time as in defaulting to the same activity all the time unless there is a creative passion there. You could have fun letting them come up with new things to do together. If you are already spending the time carting them from one activity to the next, what would the harm be in having regularly scheduled times that they choose the activity or subject to explore? In the case of kids that are breaking down due to packed schedules, I would ask them which they wouldn't mind stopping and replacing it with structured time with you. There have been studies showing how even an additional 30 minutes per day of family time can dramatically improve child behavior.

Quitting is not failing

Of course I want your kids in my classes. I also think we have a culture that tells people to stick with things no matter how much they hate them. If that is instilled young, there is probably a greater chance that your kid will stick with that job/relationship/hobby that isn't actually making them happy and may just be making them miserable. Make sure they know that your love is not dependent on things outside their character and you give them the chance to bloom into what they really want to be. Happiness is often cited as the ability to let go. If you're thinking of stopping, talk to your instructor about your reasons. Maybe they can help you sort out what's going on. Splurge on at least one private lesson to sort through what troubles your child may be having on the mats. There is a fine line between wanting to quit because something is hard and really disliking it. As you know your kids best, it's up to you to figure out the difference and what will help them the most long-term.

Things do take time

I think it's perfectly fair to make someone (you or your kid) stick with something for a little while, even several months to a year maybe. It often takes quite some time to reach deep enough understanding of an activity to know if it is shaping you in ways you like or not. I don't think you should stop at the first sign of stress. I think you could take it as information and figure out if the stress is helping you grow in a healthy way or draining you.