Are They Doing it For Themselves…or for Mom and Dad?

There is a fine line between parental support and encouragement and pushing our children into doing the things we want them to. At least, I think this is a fine line. Even parents with the best intentions can put so much pressure on a child that the child is only doing what the parent wants—not learning how to motivate themselves and find internal rewards for activities, interests, and personal efforts.

I don’t know how many times I have watched as parents forced kids out onto basketball courts or soccer fields, or heard teenagers sitting in my living room talking about how they “had” to play piano, be in drama club, take Japanese, or whatever, because their parents were making them. Now, I definitely understand how as parents we need to encourage our children try new activities and interests and to experiment with all the options in this world—but at some point, it needs to be things they are choosing and doing for themselves—not because they are afraid of displeasing mom and dad.

My standing rule for keeping myself in check has always been that I was never going to care more about something my kids did than they did. That is what I have told them and how I have held myself back from becoming one of those parents who forced their kids to do something. My other reasoning has also been that I wanted them to develop the ability to do things for themselves and motivate their own selves to stick with things that mattered—not to learn to do things just to make other people happy or satisfied.

It takes strength and faith for parents to ease up and let kids learn how to do things for their own reasons. We want our children to be healthy, involved, artistic, or whatever—but they really need to be doing for themselves, and not to make mom and/or dad happy.

Also: Showing Our Kids Our Vulnerable Side

Parents Have Emotions Too

Can a Mother Get Her Feelings Hurt?