It's hard, especially as Mum's to find that balance that special happy place for seeing our kids moving forward towards their future and goals, and who we hope they will be and letting them be and find their way at their own pace.
I don't know about you all but I can naturally get really naggy, if I give in to it. Mainly because I am worried about some thing, for example, will this child ever be able to look after a home responsibly if they can't even tidy their room? That feeling that I must nag them in to it, drive them in to some sort of tidying routine. The other one I am often tempted with is, healthy eating, nag, nag nag!
Sigh! It's so tempting to try and control everything, but I am starting to see the fruit of doing less controlling and more guiding when asked or when there is an obvious gap in knowledge.
I often find myself, especially in these teen years with my boys, consciously backing off, deliberately reducing pressure on them. Especially with my eldest who is currently do IGCSE exams.
I see so often, society, schools and even parents putting so much pressure on young people to perform and achieve. They are often required to show evidence of learning and good behaviour to gain approval from all around them, constantly.
See this is where is gets complicated, some pressure is good, but it's not linear, in other words it's like the changing seasons, the waves on a shore, like the migration of birds in the winter or even hibernation. I have found with my boys that some times a gentle nugging to encourage them, times to challenge them with goals, even tough ones, like my eldests exams or times in the past when they have had to deal with people that were angry with them or hard to handle, where they have had to stay in the situation and resolve it.
These harder seasons never last long and I always try and help by giving balance for the boys, like fun distractions or laugher and friends. But sometimes a gentle push is good.
What does a gentle push look like? Well I find it's much better when it's a push by giving an idea, sparking an interest, inspiring a goal, for example, if your son wants to fly a high speed jets, say let's look at how you can achieve that, then help them with it. That is a push, but it's driven by them, inspired by their dreams or hopes.
Pushes always need love, and understanding, and tons of patience.
Do we let them quit? Yes I think it's so healthy to know there is an option to quit at any point. I think that it helps to talk through the times when they want to quit an activity or line of study. Sensitively try and understand who they are, why do they feel like this, what season in their life are they in? We have found with both our boys that around 11 years old, it's tough, their bodies and minds were changing they needed us to back off, give them space, sleep and time to just be. Which in a few cases mean't quiting activities that outwardly seemed so wholesome! I have found that by letting them just be, such amazing fruit has appeared, they both started to discover who they really were in the world, where they thought they might want to fit in. With out us telling them what they should be doing, they had time to discover their passions. As their passions started to show, I then offered them opportunities to grow these, so there was a gentle push again, in season.
So Shakepeare had it right, almost, to push or not to push? That really is the question.