Yes I know, with a blog title like that this post could very well have been about the process of labour itself...  but it's not. What I wanted to talk about today was how hard to push your kids. Where do you draw the line between helping them too much and not helping them enough? How hard do you push them to achieve??

Whilst watching some of the London Olympic highlights I noticed one of our Aussie female swimmers crying her little eyes out because she had not won gold. The point is she trained hard, she was selected for the Olympic team, which is an amazing achievement in itself! Then she got to the London Olympics competed and won silver. Nothing to be sniffed at I would have thought but she looked heartbroken.

It got me thinking about how much pressure these kids must be under to achieve. We tell our kids to go out there and do their best. To give it everything they've got and she did. Her behaviour would indicate that she had failed and she had won silver.

So how hard should we push our kids?? If you've ever seen the show toddlers and tiara's you'll know what it looks like to cross the line. Some of those parents look like they are living vicariously through their children's wins. If you get a chance watch the Tom Hanks video I have linked to this post for you. This is a joke but unfortunately it is based heavily on others reality. Which is very, very sad.
Anyhoo, back to reality and how hard to push your kids.

I have a friend who once complained (well alright more than once but who wouldn't?)  to me about driving her son around to ice hockey matches, training and other ice hockey related crap. Then she said "I shouldn't complain, what if he turns out to be great at this?! Do you think Ian Thorpe's mum complained about driving him to swimming practice at 4am most mornings and look at him!" On thinking about it... she probably did. Complain, I mean. It is a lot to give of yourself to take such a big chunk out of your life to help someone else achieve their dreams. And how many kids don't actually make it in their chosen sport or activity anyway?? My friend's son went on to other things and never did achieve anything of national recognition in ice hockey. But is that the only reason we do it??  What are the reasons to push?? Because they might be great at it? Because they love it? Because you want them to get out and participate? Because everyone else in the family did it or does it? Because you wanted to do it but you weren't good enough??

You've probably seen that ad on TV where mum's from all over the world are waking their children up really early to drag them to some type of training for a variety of different sports. Then you see the child grown, competing in the Olympics and their mother crying in the stands watching them. Whilst this is a nice ad and it even gets me a little misty whilst thinking perhaps I should be pushing my kids a little harder at something, I'm just not sure what. What is it we are trying to achieve by pushing our kids to achieve?? Where do we draw the line and how hard do we push them to get there? 

I don't have an answer but it's certainly something to think about.

Cheers,

Lee
 


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07/31/2012 8:54pm

I was thinking the same yesterday as Master Autistic only managed 20 mins of his swimming lesson again last night... should i just be grateful he made it for 20mins or shoud i push the point he missed 10mins.... I realised I should be celebrating he even gets in the pool at all as most kids like him wont ... so lets just encourage them to be the best they can be, let them be the driver of their destiny not us :)

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Lee
08/01/2012 3:34am

I like that. Well said. : )

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cherylanne
08/04/2012 12:44am

Should we focus on teaching the skills of Goal setting and achieving personal best. Too many children believe that people are naturally talented at something. Tiger woods is the perfect example. But when you look at that example, the boy had done 10 000 hours worth or practice prior to his famous loss to John Daly at 13 years of age. He lost to a professional by 1 stroke... he was first introduced to golf before the age of 2 so that roughly approximates to 1000 hours per year or 2 hours 42 minutes per day every day.

To achieve that sort of greatness there needs to be a passion. No matter how much driving a parent does sooner or later it comes down to the child. I wonder what sort of language he's dad used with him. How often did he say "gee lets have a day off" or "your naturally talented at that" (read mindset by Dwyke and you'll get that one) or did he say "Great effort son. What's your next goal..." or "what is your objective for practice today" how about "well done.... you beat your PB... how are you going to beat your PB next time?"

So much of human psychology is about how people around us communicate to us.... maybe that is what we need to look at to encourage our little people and see if we can encourage them to push themselves..... and then be ready to drive them around the world, pay for that coach / equipment / entry fee.... after all even if they don't reach the world stage, no doubt they will take the lesson with them to succeed in other aspects of their lives.... after all isn't that what we are trying to achieve?

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cherylanne
08/04/2012 12:45am

btw.... love the video.... too funny

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Lee
08/05/2012 3:30am

I love that video too. I think when you ask the question how far is too far ..... that might be the answer.

Lee
08/05/2012 3:28am

Hey Cherylanne - Good comments. It is important to push them to achieve and to want to achieve for themselves. Andre Agassi said his father pushed and pushed him and he did achieve but he also said he didn't even like tennis. It was this drive from his Father and then all those hours and hours of practice that made him great. I think anyone can be good at anything if you put in enough practice and you do have that passion - still hard to know what to push for when they want tennis one week, golf the next... or lets try basketball. I think we are still looking for that passion for something in particular.

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cherylanne
08/05/2012 5:31am

I do wonder how often we swap because it got a little bit to hard, or as children we assume were not good enough because were not 'naturally talented' rather than pushing through with practice..... i always believed that talent was a genetic thing an you were either good at somehting or you weren't.... right into my 30's..... read some research that changed my mind




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