5. Let Them Figure It Out For Themselves
I am particularly bad at this. When we go to the skate park, my girls just want to go on their scooters, not their skateboards. I am mortified by their two-wheeled preference, mainly because it reflects badly on me and calls into question the authenticity of the scuffs on my skate shoes. This is pathetic.
If you find yourself trying to manage your kids’ likes and dislikes to make them cool (I have even told my daughters off for making their stickers too perpendicular, which I realise is something that not even a Vice magazine contributor with neck tattoos and a 3D printer would do) then you are being a dick and will almost certainly end up with miserable children and/or kids who just reject all your trendy vicar bullshit and decide to be accountants.
I shudder when I think about the time I forced my 6 year old daughter into the sea to go surfing, despite her crying hysterically because she was scared.
I shudder when I think about the time I forced my 6 year old daughter into the sea to go surfing, despite her crying hysterically because she was scared. Unbelievable really. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. She now hates surfing.
Yes, you may have dreamed of becoming a snowboard pro, but it may well be the case that your kids would rather feed starving children in Guatemala, learn how to bake or get really good at golf. Don’t be disappointed if they don’t really want to snowboard as much as you do, and don’t be surprised if this happens after you’ve tried to force them into a competitive straight jacket at an early age. My dad had no idea what snowboarding was, and I am now obsessed with it. Let the groms find their own way.
Parenthood is about selflessness (which I am learning very slowly as a result of repeating my mistakes). As such, if at any stage you find yourself doing something that is more about you than the kids, you are probably messing them up. Let them go and do their own thing, don’t video it, don’t boast about it, and who knows – one day they may end up paying off your mortgage with their X Games winnings, or even better – dragging you out of bed at 7am to score fresh tracks.