Pushy parents. No-one likes them. No-one wants to be known as one.
Sometimes children need to be pushed. I've lost count of the conversations I've had with other parents on the subject. Your child shows an aptitude for something but is nervous about pursuing it. Do you coax and cajole or accept their reluctance? Or - and this tends to happen more as they get older - your child has already proven they are good at something but insists on giving it up.
When do you push them forwards and when do you let go? I wish I had the definitive answer. I'm pretty sure I've called it wrong a few times myself already. Along the way, however, I've picked up some helpful guidelines...
The one activity I insist that my kids stick with is swimming. Until they are water confident, the lessons continue. As for the rest of their sporting activities, as long as they exercise, I'm happy for them to try different things.
See it through - at least in the short-term
The plaintive "I want to stop drama/gymnastics/piano" inevitably strikes up halfway through the lesson block. At Average Towers, this is another non-negotiable: If we've paid for the term, we stay for the term. By which time, they've often decided they want to continue. If not, then the bigger "Are you sure?" conversation takes place in the holidays.
Get to the heart of the matter
As a child, I gave up ballet lessons because another little girl repeatedly pulled at my leotard. I never told my parents why I wanted to give up; I just insisted that I did. As an adult, I realise how easily this issue could have been resolved. Make sure you know the real reasons behind your child's decision. It may be nothing to do with the activity itself. And it may be easily sorted too.
Same activity, different set-up
You know they're good at it. Deep down, they know they're good at it. But something about the existing arrangement isn't working. Could they go on a different evening - with different children, or a different instructor? Does another club offer the same activity that they could try instead? Constant chopping and changing isn't recommended. But a one-off switch to avoid a personality clash with a coach, for example, might be worth exploring.
Over to them
There comes a point when children want to take some responsibility for their own decisions. If older children persist in their desire to drop something, you may just have to accept it. Many of us return to these activities in adulthood. If it's meant to be, they'll find their own way back.
Time to relocate my ballet pumps?
Do you struggle with knowing when to push your children and when to let go? Leave a comment and let me know.
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