Parenting Norms aren’t One Size Fits All

Sometimes parents fall in to what I call “parenting norms” and forget to self-examine their intentions.

Let’s say your kid starts playing the trombone at 10.  A parenting norm would say that you have them practice every day for 10 min. or whatever is required.

And, I suppose for music proficiency, this is also a good idea. But what if this isn’t a good fit for the child?

What if the kid likes to play music without all the pressure and nagging of practice? What if the pressure and nagging to practice sucks the joy of music from their lives? Was it worth it?

It’s ok to change the goal to be “let my kid enjoy music however they want.”

We’ve become a parenting society that dictates if your kid isn’t performing at the top level of the topic then it’s looked at as a waste of time and money. The result of this is claiming ownership to our children’s success in activities and in turn using this as proof of parenting proficiency.

I’m not referring to the kids who find themselves enveloped in a passion and want to put work into achieving a personal level of success. I have one of those too and that’s different.  Kid led motivation and fulfillment is the goal.  

Sometimes kids like to play a sport, play an instrument, have a hobby for the fun of it, and not the competition of it.

Can we, as parents, let them?

Can we put aside our own goals and dreams of what we want them to accomplish and allow them to grow passions and talents on their own time frame?

I think the time frame has a lot to do with it. Parents expect X growth or proficiency in X amount of time.  We look at other same aged kids who might have more development and make that OUR goal for our children.

I mean, we’re paying with our time and money so shouldn’t we expect something in return?

Maybe not.

Or maybe the payment is your child playing cello, soccer, chess, 5 years later, not at the top performance levels but at a level that fulfills them with passion and happiness.

I don’t know a parent who doesn’t put their kids happiness towards the top of their parenting goals. Because when they become adults, we want them to be happy.

Maybe we can become more aware of the parenting norms we fall for that dictate a false social standard towards “childhood success.”  We pause and decide what is best for our own family and child situation. We can stop comparing our kids and taking ownership in their success as our own. We can start letting happiness and joy be the goal and let that grow organically.

How can we start? Let your children lead the way because as much as you think you know them, they know themselves better.

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One thought on “Parenting Norms aren’t One Size Fits All

  1. This is so spot on. It reminds me of a documentary Race to Nowhere about this endless pressure and drive placed on kids by parents. I completely agree and I don’t know where it has come from? When I look at my own success it wasn’t rooted in constant pressure from parents – I was an 80’s kid – left alone in front of an Atari and walking myself to softball practice. I don’t know why I won’t allow that same formula for my kids – but I’m trying. Thanks for posting!

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