This post is meant to remind you that your kids are not you.
Just because you loved piano lessons as a kid, does not mean your kid will. But you force them take piano because it’s what you know.
Parents tend to do this because it’s hard to get out of our comfort zone. I am here to say you can do it! I do it every day!
Tonight, my 12-yr-old daughter is trying out for the professional division at her ballet studio. I took ballet, but quit in the 3rd grade. (I did not do too many after-school activities until high school because both my parents worked.)
So having a daughter do pointe and ballet three times a week is foreign to me. I don’t know what she does in class. I am uncomfortable around the dance moms who are in the studio all. the. time. and watch their kid and my kid all. the. time. and compare their kid and my kid all. the. time.
But her ballet experience is not about me. It’s about her. It’s about letting her follow her passion. It’s about teaching her to only do things that make her happy.
By forcing your child to do something she does not want to, you are teaching her life is hard, life is a struggle — when life is really supposed to be fun. This will lead to a lifetime of saying yes to things when she wants to say no.
By letting our daughter do what she wants — even though I don’t know ballet, and my sports-loving husband certainly doesn’t know ballet — we are not only teaching her to have fun, but also we have created an ease in our family. I’ve never had to drag my daughter to ballet. There are never tears. Just joy.
These are lifelong lessons I hope she will apply to ballet and beyond — her career, her relationships, her volunteer activities.
Don’t dictate what your child should do, especially if they are telling you through tears they don’t want to. Let your child follow her heart.
PS — I know this is a very priviledged post. Some parents can’t afford dance classes three times a week. (That’s why I am on the board of NC Arts In Action, which brings dance classes to 4th graders in public schools, particularly those with large populations of free-and-reduced lunch.) As I mentioned, I did not get to do many activities because there was no one to drive me around. We are very lucky to be a in a position to do this. And if you are this lucky, let your kid live her life, not yours.