The past six months or so has been quite exciting as we watch LatteGirl develop and start to show interest in new things.Â Â Gone are the days when her attention was solely on toys and dolls, as she has begun looking to expand her horizons.Â It has also brought on new pitfalls that of course need to be navigated as well, and I struggle almost daily with trying to find the balance of encouraging her, trying to show her things and showing enthusiasm towards what she is interested in, while avoiding going overboard and becoming one of those parents.
If you have ever taken your child to an activity, a birthday party, virtually anything at one point you almost have to know at least one set of those parents. Â The ones where what the child is involved in is more about the parent than it is about the kids.Â The parent that expects their child to be the center of attention on the field or stage, the one that becomes so critical of their kids at a soccer or baseball game that you feel sorry for the child because it quickly becomes obvious that the child would have more fun if the parent could just lighten up and let them enjoy themselves.Â I know I have that potential.Â I guard against it constantly.Â For her first season of soccer, I puposefully stayed away from her games, to ensure I did not become too critical or try too hard to become her personal coach.Â I wanted her to explore it for herself.
On the other side of that coin of course, you don’t want to be too aloof or indifferent to their interests, lest you give them the impression that what is of interest to them, is not important to you.Â Or potentially cause them to lose interest or focus because your lack of participation or guidance.Â Where something was fascinating, it may fall by the wayside, because of some knowledge or assistance that you could have provided, if only you were paying closer attention.
Then of course there are the other mitigating factors.Â Such as how much of an investment do you make into each interest?Â For example, as I have mentioned, LatteGirl got a telescope this Christmas.Â She has an interest in the starts and space right now, so I certainly want to encourage it.Â But out of the box, it comes with two lenses, and a limited edition of the software.Â One side of me says that I should just allow her to use it as is until it is determined that she has enough of an interest to increase the expense and buying the “optional” accessories.Â The fear of course is that I wonder if she doesn’t follow through “enough” to justify the expenses or loses interest, is it because I didn’t make the investment into the additional tools that would have added capabilities that may have kept her interested.
Finally there is the whole overscheduled child situation that is usually a topic for most parents at one time or another.Â While I certainly want to encourage her to expand her horizons and discover new and interesting things, how do I balance that with ensuring she is dedicating enough time to each item or activity to give it a fair chance of knowing how much she likes it.
My wife says I over analyze things too much of the time.Â But all I want is all the right answers.Â In this case, I am not sure there is one exactly right, one size fits all answer.Â I will just have to keep adjusting to keep everything in balance.
So how do you keep from going overboard?Â (Or don’t you?).