Member question:

I have been trying to decide what the right balance is with pushing my kids to do something that I think it fun and useful, but they do not. For example, my 7 year old has always sort of struggled with balance. He has not been able to master a bike without training wheels. I keep trying, but he is afraid of falling, and he never wants to go riding with me. The more I try to get him to go, the more pressure it creates. He declared the other day that the bike is dangerous and of no use to him currently, so he’s not learning to ride. I could not think of a good counter argument. Do I just put it away for a year or so, and see if something changes? Or do I keep trying?


Rachel’s response:

Ultimately this decision is up to you. I think in some instances we DO need to set a boundary and teach them to do things that they don’t want to do. But I DON’T think we should do this with everything. In general, I encourage parents to choose 1-2 important things that we expect them to do (even when they don’t want to) because we will have to take the energy to manage the Yuck.

When deciding whether this is a battle you want to choose, I’d ask yourself
1.) How will things be in a few weeks or months (or years) if you push it… and if you don’t?
2.) Does addressing this issue align with the values you’re trying to instill in him?
3.) Is wanting him to do this more about you or about him? (I’m not saying this is the case here at all; this is more of a general comment. Sometimes we want kids to do things because it’s more convenient for us.)

If you think it’s important issue to address, I wouldn’t give up. And if you don’t, I recommend approaching him again using the Joint Problem Solving strategy so that he has a sense of respect and control in the plan and consequences.

Here’s a video about it if you haven’t heard me talk about it before: