I’ve always known our daughter was athletic and very fast. I can remember her beating boys in races after soccer practices and the boys going home devastated that a girl beat them. This year, we finally got to put that speed and athleticism to the test when she joined the city’s premier track club.
We couldn’t have been more proud and excited when her first season ended. Two of the highlights were a bronze medal at a national meet and qualifying for the Junior Olympics in two events. One of those individual events she had just begun running several weeks prior. We were excited about the winter track season and looking forward to the 2015 spring and summer season.
That’s when all of our excitement drastically dropped. Our daughter decided she didn’t want to run track this winter. I couldn’t believe that she may be giving up something she seemed to be so naturally good at and also seemed to enjoy.
She had met her expectations, but not mine. When you hear yourself saying, “My child is failing to meet my expectations,” here are some ways to handle it:
Don’t put your dreams on your child.
Many parents are guilty of trying to live out their own dreams through their children. Your children may look like you, sound like you, and even act like you, but they are not you. They have their own likes and dislikes, dreams, goals, and ideals in life. Let them be free to choose and experience those with your guidance.
Seek to understand your child.
Maybe your child quit a sport, an activity or isn’t the straight A student you envisioned. Instead of coming down on them or counting them out, seek to understand why they have chosen what they’ve chosen. Figure out why they are performing the way they are performing and what they are thinking. Be okay if their thought process isn’t just like yours. Finding the why behind their decisions can help lead to solutions.
Encourage your child.
When they mess up, pick them up. When they make a bad choice, be there to help them learn from it, instead of condemning them. When they go in the complete opposite direction you had hoped or expected, be there on the other side when they return.
It’s been hard on me as I see my daughter with so much potential in track. I want the best for her, and I think this is a great opportunity. It could open the door for bigger things in and out of track. At the end of the day, I want to be there encouraging her to be the best she can be in any area.