In talking with a fellow high school basketball mom recently, she was worried that she was going to miss a tournament of four games…and I reminded her (as this is my fourth child) that we had four years of year-round high school basketball and hundreds of games ahead of us. Not to mention the fact that by high school, our little boy doesn’t need his mommy at every game!
Having the perspective now of a veteran parent of four children, my observation is to pace yourself, your expectations, and your actions. Give yourself permission to resist the urge to send your child off in to the world too soon (to pre-school? summer camp?); to enroll in far too many activities, to compare your child’s talents and abilities with others (baseball star? honor student?), and to even worry about your child when they don’t appear to be “measuring up” to some sort of standard that exists in your community. Is spending every weekend, year-round, at games and practices and performances, driving to tournaments all over the state REALLY worth the family time that is being sacrificed? Maybe it is…but just maybe, lightening the load would be better on you, your partner, the other kids, and certainly…your wallet!
Children change just like adults change. The 8th grader on the bench might grow 5 inches and gain more athleticism during freshman year and be the starting team member in high school. The child struggling to make friends might come into their own as they mature through high school. The “star” soccer player might just decide they’ve had enough and opt out of the sport all together and try something new. The straight A student in elementary school might start to struggle in middle school with their academics. By high school students tend to be far too overscheduled and stressed. This can be due to a combination of the well-intentioned parents encouraging several activities as well as social forces.
Time Magazine author Erika Christakis says in her article on parenting, “Every parent worries about his or her children, but perhaps we need to take a bigger look at social forces as well.” To read more about this approach to parenting, visit http://ideas.time.com/2012/07/05/21st-century-parenting-do-we-really-need-to-reinvent-the-wheel/#ixzz2ZPOWynQE.
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