What You’ll Learn
- When is it good to push a child to try new things?
- What are the risks and benefits of pushing children?
- How do you know if you’re pushing your child too hard?
If a child doesn’t want to do something, as parents we often push them. Sometimes, when you push hard, your child will do something difficult that teaches them how to be strong and flexible. But other times, it might do more harm than good.
Why do we do this? We push our kids to get them out of their comfort zone and do things that we think are best for them. We hope it will give them confidence to learn they can handle challenges.
To determine what you should push your child to do, think about their personality. For example, if you’re pushing them to do extracurricular activities as a way to socialize, what do they like? Is it sports or a coding class? Talk about it with them.
If your child resists, make sure you’re thinking of what interests them, not you. What you loved as a kid may not be a good match for your child. But also consider if something is preventing them from doing the activity. Maybe something like anxiety or another mental health or learning issue is stopping them and they need help.
Don’t push too hard too early. Take it slow and praise them as they do new things. If they don’t like it, encourage them to finish the session they signed up for instead of quitting. If they want to stop suddenly but they liked it before, ask them why. Something may have happened to upset them.
You can also offer rewards to motivate your child to do things, which can help kids who are dealing with anxiety or depression. The reward could be anything from extra screen time to a trip somewhere fun.
If your child becomes upset or balks, don’t beat yourself up. Try to back up and start smaller. But if they don’t come around, or their behavior gets worse, then it’s time to reconsider whether the thing you’re pushing them to do is really the right thing for them.