We all want what’s best for our children. But our idea of what’s best for them might not always be what they want. Recently, I’ve noticed myself giving my children little nudges towards the decision I think is correct and what they should make. Now I’m trying to find that delicate balance between encouraging and pushing too hard.

When my son was younger, we made the decision to wait until he was in kindergarten to enroll him in any kind of sports or activities. Now, he’s in second grade and continues to play soccer, and loves it. However, my daughter wanted to take gymnastics. She’s 4 years old and just started preschool. We enrolled her this summer and she seemed to enjoy it and was actually pretty good (that’s not just a mom being proud of her daughter, she was actually good for her age). But now she doesn’t want to do gymnastics, she wants to dance. I’m torn because I want her to stay in gymnastics, but she’s only 4…how big of push should I give her?

I believe getting my kids to do things that are challenging for them will teach them grit and flexibility while also widening their worldview; whether it’s participating in sports, trying out for a play or engaging in any new social situation. But, you always hear famous athletes, singers, dancers say they’ve been doing this talent since they could walk. I see talent in both my children. Shouldn’t I push them to see their potential? My fear is that pushing my children too far can cause them to retreat inward, become resentful or develop even greater anxiety about trying new things.

Is it in their best interest if I push?

I push Cohen academically, urging him to study harder in school. I also push him to try new things and meet new people. I think it gives Cohen a sense of confidence and accomplishment when getting through something fun but challenging. I realized that the most important factor is knowing when and how much to push by thinking about their personality. If I’m met with resistance, then it might be time to examine how my motivations for pushing him in a certain direction. Cohen is older and more outgoing than my daughter Collyns. She is more reserved and I’m worried about pushing her too hard.

So should I push her more?

I don’t want her to make the same mistakes I made. When I was younger I participated in clogging, baton twirling, basketball, volleyball, track, swimming, gymnastics…I did it all! I want her to find something she loves and sticks with it. But how can she find something she wants to do unless I enroll her in all the different activities? But again, she’s only 4!

When it came to gymnastics practice, I repeatedly asked Collyns if she wanted to go and her response was NO every time. So, even though we paid for the month, we didn’t make her go. I felt she might be feeling too pressured, and it was important for me to take a step back. I didn’t want her to feel overwhelmed. I praised her for trying something new and told her how successful she was at gymnastics. I guess it’s on to dance class!

I don’t want either of my kids to feel pressured, especially from me, but I do want them to realize that if they commit to something they should at least try. My goal is to motivate them and help them along the way, even if it’s with a little push.

Mallory Connelly

Mallory Connelly

Babies & Toddlers

In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!

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