Parental pressure to “force fun”

Every parent wants their child(ren) to be great at something, whether academics, athletics, the arts, etc. We want them to not just be good at something, but to EXCEL at it, to have a natural talent for it.  We don’t always care what that thing is, but sometimes our own natural talents are what we project on our child. If we were good at basketball we can assume our child will be too, until he shows zero interest in shooting hoops.  Our children can share so many of our characteristics, but they are their own person. I’m only 2 years into parenting, but I’ve already been learning this lesson of not forcing my son to try things too soon, things I think automatically he should enjoy doing. For me, the big activity that I’ve longed to do with my son since he was born was arts and crafts. Before he could hold a crayon I wanted him to color.  Before he could sit up I wanted him to craft with me.  I viewed it as not only an educational activity but also as a good bonding time with him, as I’m somewhat artsy myself.  But trying to force his interest in arts and crafts was useless.  His attention span was zero.  Once I accepted this and eased up trying to get him to color, the interest came all on his own one day.  Now he enjoys coloring for more than 5 seconds and can scribble artwork for family.  Same thing with play doh and stickers and all kinds of fun that’s to come down the road.  He’s come into his own all on his own craft-wise, with little pressure from his mom, which is a parent’s job…to present opportunities for growth and learning and then step back and wait for them to take initiative and interact, with positive influence and reinforcement, but not pressure. There is such a thing as parent pressure, just like peer pressure, where we desperately try to force fun and our kids just want their independence and free will.  Hopefully I can remember this lesson for the rest of his life 🙂

  • When have you put “parent pressure” on your kid to “force fun?”  When have you let them be and watched their independence rise up?

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