Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I am a Pushy Parent

I push Stitch. I push him to do better at his homework, read more challenging books, do math in his head, spell out long words on his own, and try new things that he thinks he can't do. I push him to help me with housework, help me with shopping, and I continually push him to mind his manners and be polite.

I also Push with the Skating. I've stopped cajoling at practice sessions and just stated, "Practice before you play." I give a set amount of maneuvers to be performed, with the assumption that it won't take him more than ten minutes and the bargain that I won't harass him anymore after that. He might moan and whine and roll his eyes, but he'll go out there and do back crossovers without me standing over him. He'll do everything I ask, and if he forgets, he skates over to the boards and asks me, "what next?" (There's so much now, I have to write it down.) I don't ask for everything at once, but over the course of a weekend I'll get through the whole list. He knows that I don't care if he gets it right or not, I just want to see some effort. I'm not Coach, don't ask me about how it's done. It's up to him to remember how Coach taught him.

And it's working. His back crossovers are improving steadily, faster than the forward crossovers did. He's fighting less, playing more, and getting the difference between Just Gliding Around and Skating.

I know what other parents hear in the Lobby as I'm tying on skates; "Now, do ten back crossovers in each direction, five lunges with each foot, five spirals with your good foot,  five bunny hops, and five one foot spins. Then you can play."

"Uuggghhh, Mom!"

I see the raised brows and dirty looks. I'm one of Those Moms. Damn straight I'm one of Those Moms. I'm one of Those Moms who can tell the difference between an actual injury and a dramatic performance. I can hear the difference between and whine and a real cry of "No more, mommy." (Remember how I didn't force him back to Ballet Class?) And I'm one of Those Moms who, when their young child exhibits a continual desire to do amazing things, I will push them to achieve those things.

Young children can't be expected to grasp that it will take years to achieve a Double Axel. Their thought process just doesn't work that way. Stitch was a Quitter before he started skating. If something was too hard, he'd quit. My goal with the Pushy Parent routine is to keep the Double Axel on a high shelf, always in sight, but focus his efforts on the small things he's doing right now. Because if he's wanting to skate, but just seeing the Double Axel and can't do it, he'll quit.

Those Waltz Jump attempts this past weekend? I didn't ask for those. In fact, I have often stated that I prefer him not to try it without Coach around. When I told him that he was scaring me out there, he laughed.

"Just wait until I can spin around three times! Then I will really scare you!"
"You mean a triple? You think you'll do triples someday?"
"Yeah! What's it called when they go around four times?"
"That's a quadruple jump. Not a lot of people can do those."
"What about five?"
"That would be a quintuple. No one's ever done that."
"Sextuple, but no one's ever even thought of that."
"What about seven?"
"No idea."

Last night we did his exercises and stretching again. I only counted to ten for the repetitions, but Stitch would keep going. I only asked for ten sit-ups, he did twenty. I only asked for a count of ten on the split attempt, Stitch went to twenty, rested a moment, and tried again. I asked for Waltz Jumps, and he said he'd already practiced them that day while in Child Care. He only watched a few minutes of the skating I had on the computer before asking if there was a public skate that evening.

Lucy's mom sat in the bleachers on Sunday and never pushed. She read her book and shivered. Lucy spent most of her time gliding around, hanging on boards, or talking in bleachers. Without the Guiding Hand of a Pushy Parent to give her some direction, Lucy didn't practice, and she left looking bored.

Which parent sends what message to their child, the Pushy Parent or the one that Reads in the Bleachers?

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