When you think of youth sports what feelings come up for you as a parent? For me, as a parent and a pediatrician, it makes me feel tired. Don’t get me wrong, being active every day is important for kids with growing bodies. Yet for so many kids, youth sports is more a life absorbing career than the one hour a day of play pediatricians recommend.
Parents face a culture of criticism and anxiety, and so do their kids.
Parents can’t avoid the culture of criticism that pushes perfectionistic parenting. They are told everything they do matters, and that one little mistake could mess up their child for life. Then, they are told that parents are too anxious these days. They are pelted with advice on how to worry less because anxious over-parenting is… messing up their children.
This question comes from a concerned mother. She writes, “Our current challenge is that we adopted a dog, and my 3-year-old son seems to be acting out because maybe he is jealous? He’s normally very kind and gentle, but has been acting out in a general and has been a bit aggressive or overzealous to the dog. He’s not responding to our respectful interference.”
Have you ever worried that your kids are behind? I have. Other people’s kids seem to have accomplished so much already in elementary school. They are on the robotics team, a competition that takes up hours each weekend, while my kids play with legos. They play travel or competition level sports, while my kids seem to keep tripping over their own feet.
Every day in my pediatric practice parents ask me advice about screen time and social media. How much is okay? Is screen time bad for kids? Should parents try to control it when kids get older, or are the teenagers old enough that they should be managing it themselves?
Our family really needed a fitness reboot. The past school year had been challenging; we’d had a sequence of wonderful college students to watch our kids, but their class schedules kept changing. The turnover led to a situation where we could not sign the kids up for sports… and we needed a little nutritional and fitness tune-up.
“Recently (in the last 2-3 months) my 3 year old son has become very vocal and insistent on being heard. Particularly when I’m in the room. If I’m trying to talk to anyone he starts holding a separate conversation and then shouts ‘I’m trying to talk!’ How can I honor him but still be able to have conversations with other adults???” This question came from one of the moms in our Should-Free Parenting facebook group, and it echoed something I hear a lot.
We were supposed to be going to Hawaii. It had all been planned months ahead of time. Of course it had. This was going to be my first time and I was excited. We wanted to make the best of it and maximize our time, so I worked through Thursday, and our flight was early Friday morning.
Has someone criticized you or said something shaming to you lately? It feels like a slap in the face. You may feel it as the unpleasant tingle of a blush starting on your face, tightness in your throat and nausea in your belly. Or perhaps you defend yourself from shame by reacting with swift anger. So it won’t surprise you that your kids react to shame this way too.
The first thing I saw when I got down to the cabins in the woods was two wild looking boys having a piggy back ride. The one of top was my son, and he yelled, “It’s my Mom, run away quick!” Next, another wild boy walked out of his cabin, took one look at me, and ran back into his cabin. He was my other son.