I have often wondered, that as parents of young children do we really need to micro-manage every step of their lives? It is a hard not to insert all of my wants and ideas into my children’s lives, because of course I know best. As an involved father of a ten year old girl and an eight year old boy, I see how easily on a daily basis it is to run their lives.
Several times in the past it seemed better for them to perform adult like tasks and add activities to their kiddy resumes, than to actually play and act like kids. Many parents see play as a childish waste of time for children, which in itself sounds funny. These new tasks such as clubs, sports and academics are the real pieces that will fulfill their children and aid them in life. I see parents literally filling in their children’s resumes for future success at a very young age.
In the mind set of today, playing and other activities like getting lost in the woods for an hour are deemed useless, a waste of time for everyone’s brilliant children. What they are missing is that these activities are actually what makes a successful child.
A successful child is one who grows into a self confident, high self esteem, socially appropriate and selfless adult. The medals, trophies and awards from grade school only bring happiness so long in a child’s life if they are not happy with themselves.
These traits of success are actually learned through play and other childhood activities that are now being crowded out by pre-planned academic success, friendships and social standing.
The past generation has come from an age where there weren’t that many chances for success at an early age. Parental involvement and recognition was at a minimum. This is a whole new world for us as parents, our children can actually garner more accolades than we ever have, all before they are 15.
I must admit that at times I have been caught up in the race, but I will quickly pull back. My children are sad if they do not win, or get trophies, but in all reality they will lead the way. The less pressure that my daughter feels to compete frees her up to do her best. My son just wants to try and in our house he is already a success just for trying.
They both play for at least an hour a day with friends, by themselves, in the woods behind our house, and as a family. The play can be serious, but it is play.
I think as a society we should re-examine how we see our children, how our decisions for them usually are based on what we expect and want. If we do this, many times we will see that the decisions are not in their best interest.