Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pushy Or Supportive?

This is something I have been wondering about for a little while now. When we clean, we do a lot of single family houses that have two kids or more. These are affluent people with disposable income and much of said income is disposed on said kids. The ways this income is disposed on these children varies. Sports for some. Dance for others. Fine arts for some more. Art for others. The houses are full of it. Pictures, photos, trophies, and costumes. One kids family sends her to Acting day care. Yes, an actual theater day care. This kid is 4. How much of this does the kid actually pick up? So here is my question.....

When does being a supportive parent stop and being a pushy stage/sport parent start?

Like with the 4 year old actor..... does that kid actually know what she's doing is acting, or is it just a fun activity with crazy dress up that goes with it? Or the soccer kid's parents.... are they the driving force behind this boy's being in soccer every year, or is the kid really a soccer fanatic? It's getting hard to tell. I see the kids sometimes in the morning when we get to a place early. The Mom's and Dad's are all, "Let's go Joshua! Your soccer practice starts in an hour and you want to be there early to practice for practice." or "Amanda! if you don't get your shoes on and get your dance bag we are going to be late and you'll never get the lead in the ballet!". I shake my head.

Now, I have my girls in dance. One attends the Sarasota Ballet, and the other the Dance program in her Magnet Middle School, but I swear to GOD I have never sounded like that! It's almost like the parent is the one who wants to get to practice early...... weird. They are living vicariously through their kids. I made sure my girls were at practice, were picked up on time, and I always go to the recitals! I like to be supportive, but I want them to want to do this for themselves, not because I am out there rooting them on. Rebecca has decided that she would like to try Spanish next year because chorus wasn't what she thought it would be for her. I said OK. Great. Have at that Spanish language! (Of course, she also got into advanced ballet and dance for next year too and that is truly where her heart is!) If that's what she wants, I will be supportive in that as well, speaking Spanish with her all the way!

I wonder if little Josh or Amanda's moms would feel the same way.


Rachel said...

one of my nephews started going to sports camp when he was 4 his choice. when he turned 7 same camp became baseball camp. my other nephew went to the same camp, didn't like it much, next year he went to acting camp and circus camp. he started at 4 as well. my niece started ballet she is 4. they all choose to do their activity w no pushing from the parents. The one rule, if they don't want to do it anymore, they have to finish the program and the next year they do something else.

Spicy Mother said...

It is really hard to tell when a supportive parent stop becoming one.

All parents want their kids to excel in life and fear they lose out in the competitive world but they unconsciously deprive their kids of the joy of childhood.

Sometimes, kids rebel and parents then realize their mistake.

Christina LMT said...

My mom forced me to take ballet when I wanted to learn to play a musical instrument. I was six. I hated every minute of it, but she made me go for four years. Ugh. Because SHE had always wanted to learn ballet, but never had the chance. Parents need to let their kids try new things, so they can find out what they like on their own. The parents need to stop living vicariously through their children, in my opinion.

Nicki said...

I totally agree. The kids in my family have all been in some activity or another... Monkeyboy did Little League for a few years, Little Bear took gymnastics, Little Bird was in ballet... but there is a huge difference between letting a kid explore a fun activity and have new experiences, and actually going way overboard and trying to make the kid start a career at the age of 6.

metamlmom said...

A parent can send their kid to every dance practice for x amount of years. They can drop them off and pick up on time every time. But that isn't supportive. To me, the supportive parent is the one in the stands cheering "you'll get 'em next time" or who is taking pictures from the front row. As soon as an activity becomes a chore for THE KID, it becomes pushy. I always felt bad for those kids...long ago as a kid myself and later on as a parent.

phinz said...

I have a (step)grandson who excelled at baseball and all the adults in the fam expected him to go to the majors. They all went to all his games and cheered him on, etc. He didn't have the drive to take it past college level and now every time his name comes up, his grandfather laments "what could have been." This grandson will never measure up in grandpa's mind. The whole situation is stupid to me because even tho this grandson is now going to be a policeman, it's still not good enough for grandpa.
I say let the kids go as far as they want to in any given activity and roll with the changes.

Blondefabulous said...

RACHEL: Totally! If the kid doesn't want to do it, forcing them to soothe your own psyche is wrong.

SPICY MOTHER: Yeah, the line can sometimes be blurred. I want my kids to excell, but at something they want to do. They'll go farther that way.

CHRISTINA LMT: See.... that's what I am wondering. These people have lots of cash to throw at after school activities for the kids, but do the kids really want to be there doing it? It borders on day care with a twist.

NICKI: I let my girls approach me about the dance thing. Once they said they wanted to do it, I was on board with it and supportive about it. If they change their minds... oh well. That's OK too.

METALMOM: Now, I went to every practice, and every performance. I took pictures and video,(as you all know from my blog), and made sure the kids had the things they needed. I don't think I was ever the Pushy sort, but I saw it in other parents around me. I shuddered for their kids who looked so unhappy to be there.

PHINZ: See,... I don't have expectations. I try to enjoy the moment and admire my sweet little girls on stage. Junior doesn't have a "thing" yet.... soon though. (And I won't have any expectations there too.)