Saturday, February 07, 2009

 

Keeping Your Kids Involved

This past Sunday, I looked at my son's past three weekends and realized he was a busy kid. Three weekends ago, he camped with the Boy Scouts for two nights in zero degree weather. The next weekend, he went on a skiing/snowboarding trip to West Virginia with the high school ski & board club. Most recently he went with the Scouts to an indoor rock climbing place, Rockquest. He had lots of fun and earned his climbing merit badge.


Here he is near the top of a 40 foot wall.

Keeping you kids involved in activities has always been considered a key element of helping them develop into mentally and physically adults. My experience tells me that kids will happily participate in lots of activities as long as the activity has some appeal for them. I have also learned that pushing a child too hard to excel destroys much of the value of the activity.

Every activity in which my son as participated in on a long term basis is one he chose. When he was younger, we had him play soccer, basketball, and soccer. I would always toss ball or play games with him at home when he wanted. As he got older he skateboarded, got involved in music, began playing football and did some BMX bicycling.

I supported him monetarily only to the extent it was "reasonable." Skateboards, bicycles and guitars can get expensive. We started with the cheaper models that you can get at dealers, not major retail stores, and went from their. As he got bigger, now 6' 3" & 255 lbs of football player, he realized skateboarding and BMX cycling weren't for big guys. He's earned three guitars and a drum set for his musical efforts though.

I reward my son for his performance. He doesn't have to be the best but he does have to be good. He now understands this completely. He knows I will do everything I can for him as long as he putting forth a good effort. I'm not talking about "trying," I'm talking about working at whatever it is.

Interestingly, he excels at almost everything he does, even the stuff he does just for fun. Maybe, he is an unusually talented and motivated boy. I know he is too a point. He has a "something to prove" attitude that I like. But, he does it with a smile.

But, I think some parents take the wrong approach when they try to get their kids interested in activities they, the parents, like, not necessarily the kids. Then they push the kids too hard to excel. I come from a basketball family. My father and mother played basketball in high school back in the Thirties. Myself and all my siblings played at some point.

Until the third grade youngest daughter claimed she never wanted to play basketball. I always said OK, I just want you to do something. In the third grade one of her friends convinced her to play basketball on one of the intramural developmental league teams at school. When I picked her up after her first practice she looked up at me and said, "Daddy, I love basketball." Now, she's a seventh grader who managed to make the high school freshman team. And, she's done it all herself. I buy her shoes, watch her games and cheer her on, but she's in an activity she loves.

Some parents make the mistake of introducing their kids to a continual string of activities without the expectation of the child sticking to anyone of them and becoming proficient at it. This teaches kids not to persevere plus they never learn the rewards that can be found with long term effort.

Keeping your kids involved is a good thing but it's a little more complicated than that. It takes a lot of work and awareness of each child's needs, abilities, and interests on the parents' part.

Comments:
An excellent tpost, with an excellent point.

There's somethingto be said about learning to work at something to become proficient.

Forcing a kid, like my wife was forced to do ballet, is totally counter productive.

But if the child likes something, gets frustrated and wants to quit - there's a discussion that needs to be had. Quitting because it's hard develops horrible patterns in adulthood.

It's the person who knows that no matter what it is work will be involved to do it well, who will be able to attain any goal in life. No matter how high...

Peace,

babbo
www.daddybrain.wordpress.com
 
Sorry about the typo...

= ^ )
 
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