This weekend, my husband and I witnessed something quite extraordinary and a bit disturbing all at the same time. On Saturday, we took our 2-year-old daughter to her first Ballet class. You know the ones that are unassisted, protocol and the whole 9 yards. We were actually okay with that. I believe it is a good thing that at a certain age, children begin to venture out on their own without the help of mom and dad. But the problem wasn’t the structured class.. it was the PARENTS!
I was simply amazed at how crazed, anxious, detailed and competitive each of those moms were. I thought to myself, “These are babies.. 2-3 year olds. Shouldn’t this be about fun right now!” Well obviously not in the eyes of some of the mothers. Because it was our daughters first day, she was a bit hesitant to join the group alone. So we let her hang out with us on the sidelines. However, a few moms felt the need to overstep their boundaries and “try” to direct our child with what to do. I mean the nerve of these mothers.
I was simply amazed. But the reality is that, for a second (and I do mean a second) I almost fell into that same disposition of becoming competitive and wanting my child to be better than the rest. Then I quickly snapped out of it an realized a few things.
If by nature you are a competitive person, that’s’ okay simply don’t let it ruin your kids:
Know your child’s limits
By the time your child gets to the stage of where you are signing them up for activities, you have pretty much spent the past 24 months learning every aspect of your baby. Every child is developmentally at a different stage. Some might just be shy, while others might not want to participate at all. Don’t allow the circumstances to dictate how you as a parent behave and what you allow your child to be exposed to. When the mother told my daughter to just go out and join the group, I told her, “she’s going at her own pace” in other words, mind your own damn business and focus on your on kid!
Focus on your child and celebrate their accomplishments
The class lasted 30 minutes and during that time, Zoie played on the sidelines trying to warm up and figure out if she wanted to join the class. With the last 5 minutes remaining she rain straight into the group and joined in. Her timing, her comfort level. What more could we have asked for. This was her very first class doing an activity where mom and dad were not present (well, outside of school) This was a big moment for her, and as parents we celebrated her accomplishment. Maybe next week, she will join the group in the beginning. But if she doesn’t, that’s okay as well. Remember this is about your child’s growth and development, not your image as a parent.
Check your own ambition as a parent
We’ve all heard the stories of the parents running out on the football field, or parents fighting the coaches or even parents screaming at their kids for not performing (they way they expected them too.) Wanting your children to be the best and strive for the best is one thing, but if the drive is coming from your own personal ambition as a parent, then you need to check yourself. Especially at this age. 0-5 years -old is the most important development stage in a child’s life. Even more important, what a parent teaches them at this stage is even more important. Your own personal ambition could end up being a detriment to the long-term development of your kid.