Teach My Kids, Please
Would you hire someone to teach your kids how to ride a bike? To hold a pencil properly or to read? Would you hire a private hockey coach or dance teacher? Your first thought is probably no but many parents do.
Outsourcing typical rights of passage is becoming more common. Pedalheads is a program that is expanding across Canada that will teach your kids how to ride two-wheelers. And this article in the NY Times explains how more and more kids are getting help from an Occupational Therapists in order to write properly. You only have to walk down the street to see the popularity of Oxford and Kumon learning centres.
So what are we parents so afraid of?
We’ve had our own struggles in our house to get one of our kids to lose the training wheels and it seems tempting to send him off to someone who will just let him go. And to be honest, the same goes with handwriting (somehow my oldest child missed learning cursive) and reading. But how many people could we honestly have in our employ just to turn our kids into successful kids?
I think there is a confluence of many parenting trends that has resulted in the urge to outsource.
Firstly, is that we want to be friends with our kids. Teaching them things that are difficult can be hard and can result in many tears. Modern parenting is about acceptance and connection and teaching kids how to do new things, often results in tears, yelling, aggravation and a few doors being slammed. I have found few things as frustrating as teaching my kids to read.
Parents are competitive. We all know which kids are reading, writing, riding a two-wheeler or generally excelling and it can be frustrating and scary to see your kid slip behind, especially when it is something that seems so easy to us adults. It’s not that we mean to be competitive it’s just that we get a little over-involved in our kids successes and our own worth as parents.
We want things to be perfect. See above. But also we are a generation that thinks parenting can be perfected. So obviously, we would hire experts to ensure that our kids had access to the person who is best able to teach them a skill.
Life is very busy. Kids and parents have a lot on their plates and sometimes it is hard to work in the many hours of one-on-one time that it takes to teach kids a new skill.
We are lazy. Yes, we are. We were brought up to have it all and we can be a little self-indulgent with our time. We don’t necessarily want to run up and down the driveway holding on to a bike for many hours. But we want to enjoy the moment when it clicks and they are off and riding down the street.
No one like to see their kids fall, metaphorically or physically, but if we miss all the scrapes and bruises are we missing the highlights too? We all want to be there for the big moment, forgetting that there are lots of little moments along the way. But I think that as a parent you know when you are losing the battle and the activity is turning into a dreaded chore for both of you and whether it’s reading or riding a bike that is the time to call in the experts.