Should we “Push” our Kids?

A mom shared a story with me this morning and now I am sharing with you!  Her choices may just inspire YOU!

trust-1288018_960_720It was a fun day out with family at the water park and little did this mom know that her decisions would have a major impact on her child, both now and in the future.

Her son came to the park with a mission, to jump off the high rock formation, down below into the cool waters.  He was scared…really scared but wanted to conquer his fear and go for it.  The mind is a powerful thing and doesn’t always agree with our desires.

As he watched his brother and sister jump over and over again, it only reinforced the fact that he had a quest and was not leaving until he had succeeded.

His mom witnessed all of this happening and was trying to figure out how she could help her son take the leap, both literally and metaphorically.  She then took the plunge herself, demonstrating that even she had the nerve to jump.  His courage would come on strong and then slowly fade away. One foot would lift off the ground and the other one never quite got the message.

By this time, he had an audience, all of whom were cheering for him.  Everyone wanted him to jump, almost as much as he did. It was getting late and it was now or never.  His mom wanted him to complete his mission because she knew how proud he would be of himself, but realized it wasn’t going to happen on his own.

She was faced with a decision.  Should she go up there and give him a little push?  Would her son be mad that she helped and he didn’t fully do it on his own?  What message was that sending to her son?  Was she crazy or being a good mom?  When do you “push” and when do let kids figure out their owns paths? The questions were flooding her brain and she was in agony.  Moms know their kids best though and she decided to give him that shove he needed to succeed.

Seconds later he splashed into the water below and his smile said it all.  He did it!  Yes, he had a little help, but don’t we all need a little push every once in a while?

 As my friend was sharing her story with me, she was conflicted as to her decision, even though it had turned out okay.  As a mom, regret is our middle name, right?  She didn’t know if as a mom, she had made the right choice.  We talked about the consequences of her decision, both positive and negative and at the end of our conversation, she knew…she did what she felt was the best choice for her child, which is what any mother strives for.
  • Sometimes in life, we all need a “push” in the right direction:
    • To some this may just be about a young boy who was scared to jump at a water park, but in reality, this is actually a life lesson.
    • When we see our children struggling, even though we know they have the strength to do it, as a parent, we need and want to be there to help guide them.
    • Our job is to send the message that our kids can do anything they put their minds too, even though the journey may be scary and they may need help getting there.
  • This child will remember this moment which will have an impact on his future decisions:
    • Without realizing it, this mom gave her son the confidence to make choices later on in life.
    • If he had let fear rule him, he may not have ever jumped and regretted that decision.
    • He will think about how he can do anything, whether it’s asking a girl out in the future, making that big presentation at work, etc.
  • You cannot have it both ways:
    • If you expect your kids to take that leap, don’t try and then hold them back.
    • There will be some situations where you hope your child won’t take the leap but you have to be confident you have taught him to be safe and make good choices.
    • Over confidence can lead to bad things but it can also open up doors that would be harmful if left closed.
  • Allow your child to push themselves:
    • As parents, we are there every step of the way, laying down foundations and providing the tools for our kids to succeed in the future but at some point we cannot always rescue them from their fears.
    • We can only push them so far until they need to learn how to push themselves.
    • Sharing this concept will give your child the confidence to be their own cheerleader.
  • Adults have fears too:
    • Children may be embarrassed by their fears, not realizing they are common, in fact right in their own household.
    • Talking to your child about your own fears will make him realize he is not alone and everyone has fears.
    • Involving your child in helping YOU with YOUR fears is a great way to reciprocate the gesture.
 I am so happy my friend shared her story with me.  She was second guessing herself, unsure if she had made the right decision to “help” her child jump.  What she didn’t realize is that the mere fact she was thinking about how her actions would affect her son makes her an amazing mother and of course, a Mommy Master.  Remember, Mastering Motherhood is not always being the perfect mom (which we all know doesn’t exist), but doing what we think is best for our child at a certain moment in time.

Some parents may have gone home from the water park with a child who felt defeated, sad and disappointed in themselves.  Some may have still gone home with an upset child, even WITH a push, because the child wanted to do it himself.  There are so many scenarios because our kids are all different.

There is no one right answer here and you may not agree with this mom’s choice…and that is okay.  What matters is that she is okay with her choice.

If you have a story you would like to share with Mommy Masters, send your details to info@mommymasters.com.  As always, your identity will be kept confidential and remember, you may actually help another mom struggling with the same issues.

TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD!™