Children at this age are transitioning from a “child” to a “young adult”. They have refined their fine motor skills, agility, coordination, techniques, and are more confident in their capabilities. At the same time, growth spurts and hormonal changes are starting to have an impact on them and affect their behavior.
Sometimes as parents and instructors we view their lack of effort in performing easy or routine tasks as them being lazy, the reality is that it is their way of conserving energy so that they can cope with the physical changes they are undergoing.
The challenge for adults is to achieve a balance between tolerating some “lack of effort” while “pushing” them discover and develop to their full capabilities
Physically: They have increased their martial arts skills and techniques, but will often not put 100% effort into punching, kicking or doing forms. Our goal as instructors is to increase their effort through challenging tasks such as building momentum when performing jumping and spinning techniques. We also focus more on proper mechanics and how it will help them build strength and power.
Intellectually: While they are extremely smart and have become adept critical thinkers, sometimes they don’t make the best decisions. Our goal is to help them understand the importance of remaining focused and putting maximum effort into even the simplest of tasks as that is the cornerstone of success. Additionally, we work to strengthen their decision-making skills and ability to perform under pressure.
Emotionally: Emotions in children in this age bracket can change from second to second due to the changes taking place within their body chemistry. Our goal is to help them through this transition by building their self-esteem and helping them overcome their internal fears and anxiety.
Socially: Peer pressure, likes and dislikes as well as how peers see them can have a major impact on the social choices 10 to 14-year-olds make. Our goal is to help them see the bigger picture and how following others instead of making decisions based on their values and character is not always the best choice.
Please remember that the Stages of Development are general guidelines and as all children are unique, where they are in their development will vary from child to child.