Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the thousands of things I’ve had to learn and come to terms with over the past five years, is that every child matures at their own rate.
I don’t know why that surprised me. I know plenty of adults who have never grown up.
Maybe it’s because of all those charts the doctors and experts throw at you. You know, the ones that say things like: By age 3, your child should be doing long division and changing the oil in your car.
Kids are people, too, and their minds and personalities develop at their own pace.
I used to compare Ty with other kids his age and often was disappointed when one of his friends or his cousin, who is a couple of months younger than Ty, did something that seemed more advanced than what he was capable of doing.
Eventually I realized that he might not be able accomplish what they could, but maybe they couldn’t do the things that he likes to do.
I want Ty to succeed and excel in school, sports and life, but I want him to go at his own speed. I push him if he gets lazy or his focus wanes, but I’m not going to over-schedule him with a variety of practices and classes. I’m not going to force him to play a song on the piano or score six goals in a soccer game or memorize poems by a certain age just because some other kid did.
Theresa wrote about this in January, but I wanted to let you know where I’m coming from.
I guess if Amy Chua is a Tiger Mom, I’m a Turtle Dad.
Ty’s not into sports right now – unless our nightly wrestling matches count – and that’s OK. I’ve seen too many dads force their kids into things they don’t want to do, making for a miserable time for everybody involved.
So I’ll encourage Ty to develop his interests and be there with help or advice. I’ll teach, coach or whatever he needs to suceed and I’ll make him follow through with his commitments.
But right now, I want him to try things and find out what he likes. At his pace.
Kids need time to be kids.
Are you a Tiger Mom or Tiger Dad?
How has that helped or hurt your relationship with your kids?
- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog