Applying Just Enough Pressure

pressure gauge

I think one of the MOST difficult aspects of parenting (for me at least) is knowing how and when to set limits. Just like the piano battles I mentioned the other day…there are also other areas in which I find conflict with the boys.

It’s always been very important to me to create an environment here at home where the boys would feel very safe. I want home to be a place they’d like to stay, rather than chasing them off. We’re heading into the teen years soon with the older boys; this increases the importance of keeping home attractive.

I bet you’re wondering, where’s the problem? Quite simply, it’s the fact that the boys want to stay home and not leave. Whenever I announce that we have to go somewhere, there is a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Lately their big issue is how awful it is that we’re making them go to Tae Kwon Do and they want to know when they can quit. Hubby and I see a great deal of value in pushing through and sticking with the sport, and we want them to do so.

Once they get to class, there are smiles and they have a wonderful time. Hubby doesn’t hear all the complaining, in fact they assure him that it’s fun and great and terrific. (He does hear some of the grousing, just not as much because they do a lot of it before he gets home.)

Last night was the perfect example. They had an extra Tae Kwon Do class because they needed some experience working with different teachers before their test next week. As they were heading out the door, TechnoBoy was joining in the chorus of complaints and said, “Well, we’re going to this class for no good reason.” That was my limit and I sharply informed him that “because your parents think it’s a good plan” was plenty enough reason and that he’d better knock it off.

When they came home Hubby told me that they’d done a fantastic job, had impressed him greatly, and that they enjoyed the experience. We discussed the complaining and Hubby said that I can’t stop people from complaining. We agree that there needs to be a limit.

I feel a little bad about pushing them to do things. We’re heading into the school year which means I have to put on my Pushy Mom hat. Keeping the boys motivated to do their schoolwork is an effort. Which, now that I think about it, could be why I dislike pushing them otherwise. I was mostly self-motivated when it came to schoolwork growing up…probably 80% I did on my own without pushing. Except for 6th and 7th grade, when my parents had to step in and insist a bit more. So I don’t really understand the complete unwillingness to do…anything. In my world, you do something simply because it needs to be done. The boys don’t operate that way.

Sooooo, all that to say that ugh. This is hard. I want them to do things (besides playing computer or watching television) because they want to.

In the meantime, they still have to take piano lessons and do a sport because we as their parents-in our somewhat finite wisdom-say that they should. It’s fine if they change activities, but I don’t think they should just drop things and stay at home.

Anyone else experiencing this?

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who need to keep their kids going.

Image courtesy of eschipul via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • ISageni Weight Loss August 21, 2009, 2:55 pm

    very informative posts, for parents. i have a 3 years old child can you tell me how can i insist him that he get rid from some of his bad habits, i tried love, strictness with him but he is still on his bad habit

    Reply
  • Roxanne August 22, 2009, 2:15 am

    Thanks for the tips. I have a son too, now he is three years old. It is really important to set their limits even at he young age.

    Reply
  • poker August 24, 2009, 3:22 pm

    Wonderful Blogs with full of Tips. It is not easy to grow children & insist him that he get rid from some of his bad habit πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Baby Carriers August 24, 2009, 8:12 pm

    I hear you… I have a three year old that hates to leave the house sometimes (he’s recently become a Thomas fanatic), but I also have a 14 year old step-son – he’s pretty good about it most of the time, but I definitely hear the attitude when he has homework, or I want him to go outside instead of watch TV. I think you’re right to be pushy about these things. As long as they’re enjoying the activity once they’re doing it – that’s your clue. When they hate doing it, maybe then you look for something new. It’s important to keep them active in the community or sports… good job! Sorry you have to deal with the whining though!

    Reply
  • gilbert August 26, 2009, 4:41 pm

    Great post..for me tell your child to be patient and keep telling them repeatedly not to take any actions until they grow up. Tell them that they are definitely independent to choose their partners but also throw light upon the kind of responsibilities one has to deal with. Tell them to give time to their relationship and see if it can withstand the test of time.

    Reply
  • Crystal August 29, 2009, 10:33 am

    Keep pushing them just the same way. IMHO, it’s these lessons that teach kids about commitment and follow through. It is important to finish what you start even if you don’t want to sometimes. These skills are vital to being a successful adult.

    We have the same issue with DS4 (almost 5) and soccer. He wants to play for the first couple weeks, then it starts, he doesn’t want to go, but has fun while he’s there. By the end of the 7 week session, 1/4 of the team has stopped showing up and the kids that do have to play the whole game because there’ are no fresh kids to come in for a tired player. We go every week, rain, cold or shine. We insist that he play when the team calls on him and we do not let him quit halfway through because he wants to be all done. “Your team needs you,” we tell him. “You need to go out there, listen to your coach and do the best you can. We know you are tired, but you can do it!” Then when the game is over, there is snacks, high-fives and all sorts of praise for how he dug deep and pulled through.

    I feel that learning this lesson now teaches him that he can push himself and do things like take care of his future family when he is sick, show up for work when he doesn’t feel like it and persevere through the tough parts of life that he’ll have to face.

    Reply
  • Amy September 12, 2009, 10:55 pm

    ISageni it depends on the habits you’re dealing with. There’s a difference between behavior that is unacceptable and behavior that is normal for the age. I don’t like how my new puppy makes messes on the carpet, but it’s part of her age and I simply have to keep training her to do the right thing. By “training” I mean watching her EVERY second, taking her outside anytime I think she may need to potty, and praising her like mad when she does. If she does make a mess inside I either say “No” firmly or simply nothing at all. In time, she’ll figure it out. If you tell me more specifically what you’re dealing with I could probably give a better answer. πŸ™‚

    Roxanne, right on!

    Poker, thanks. And you’re absolutely right. It is difficult. Sigh.

    Baby Carriers thanks. I’ll keep pushing then. The good news is that the Tae Kwon Do argument has simmered down a bit. Now to fight about school.

    Gilbert, will do. Thanks for commenting!

    Crystal, I agree completely. I just wish it wasn’t so much work to get them to just DO whatever we’re asking of them. Sheesh. πŸ™‚

    Reply