Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Wanting My Kids To Be Better Than Me

I think most parents want this.  They want their kids to be nicer, more successful and better people than they are.  (Definitions of what counts as "better" may vary.)

I'm finding myself teetering on this for Nathan lately.  He's been having regular playdates with a friend to play the LEGO movie video game on Xbox.  They've been slowly working their way through the game.

Now Nathan has already solved most of the puzzles in the game, so he has a tendency to just X,Y,Z through the levels.  I've been encouraging him to give his friend time to figure things out and to make sure his friend has an equal opportunity to enjoy the challenges.

Watching them yesterday, I wondered if I was denying Nathan his chance to shine.  He's good at the game.  By encouraging him to give his friend a turn, am I encouraging him to be less than he is?  Am I telling him other people's feelings are too important for him to "insult" them by being good at something?

Sharing is a good and necessary goal but I think I'm going to have to be careful about how I frame things.  On the other hand, he (and his friend) are young and it's natural for kids to be selfish, so I don't want to make him feel bad about it.  I just want to encourage him to think about other people.  But I don't want to encourage him to think of himself as not as important as those other people.

This parenting thing is a real headache.  It has to have been easier when the sole criteria for "good" parenting was survival.  Kid made it long enough to pop out some grandkids?  Home run.

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