Parents often wonder whether the schedules our children’s have are burdening our children? Are children involved in too many demanding after-school activities? How much is too much? Parents desire to expose their children to various experiences to build skills, confidence, success and a solid sense of identity. With the infinite possibilities, parents stress over which and how many activities to enroll them in.
Finding balance for children is integral to their development. Excessive involvement will do a disservice to one’s child as it will lead to unrealistic expectations and stress. Children may inadvertently believe that they are deficient because they cannot meet or manage these unattainable expectations. Kids must receive the message that they are not defined by what they do or accomplish. Such a distorted belief will foster low self-worth. Rather, childhood should focus on the importance of play, curiosity, experimentation and identity development in a natural manner.
Simultaneously, parents must manage their anxiety that they are not doing enough for their children. Society places such pressure on parents who in turn allow the anxiety to trickle down to their children. Providing a safe, loving, nurturing, structured and stimulating environment is key. With this foundation, children flourish and learn to gain a healthy sense of self and confidence to try new activities. As children age, they will help guide themselves and their parents in pursuit of various interests. Let us remember the important lesson about pursuing interests and activities that make life enjoyable and fun. Life is full of responsibility, let childhood be balanced with a playfulness and joy. Unnecessary pressure and competition can be very stressful for children.
Bottom line is that it does not matter whether our child is the star quarterback, can play the piano or is a math wiz. We love our child unconditionally. The values that we desire to instill in our children is what is most important. Teaching the “golden rule”of how to treat others, to give and receive love, be compassionate, have self-worth and self-efficacy, and that diligence and perseverance is important. We want our children’s lives to be filled with optimism, gratitude, love and friendship. Maintain flexibility and balance. Prioritize and nurture what is most important. Most importantly, lead by example. Our children don’t come with individualized manuals, so be compassionate with yourself when you make mistakes; they are bound to happen.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.