A few weeks back, we visited Dr. Steven Curtis. Dr. Curtis suggested that my TBP needs to excel in more areas than video games. I received great comments and suggestions from helpful readers and I put a new plan into place.
I spoke with my son about the importance of developing into a well-rounded person with lots of interests. I explained that this new plan would help him develop responsibility and a wider range of interests. “I do have lots of interests…Mine Craft creative mode, Mine Craft single player, Mine Craft parodies, and creating Mine Craft tutorials.”
At this point, I spoke up and said, “What I’m thinking about is someone who enjoys many different things. For example, I enjoy writing, teaching, reading, and playing the piano.” His face told me that he was not happy or comfortable with the news.
The next morning, I showed him the list for the day, it consisted of a mixture of chores and activities that he often enjoyed when he was taking a computer break. In order to earn computer time, there were several things that I wanted him to do. The more items he did on the list, the more time he could earn. Initially, there was some push back about this because, “we haven’t done it this way” and I pushed back, standing my ground.
The one thing on the list that he really challenged was piano practice. My TBP wanted to go round and round about piano and I didn’t engage with him. Instead, I explained that this was today’s list.
He put his laundry away, read with me and completed some math that I selected. This earned him a computer break and by then, I needed one too. Eventually I know that he will manage his own responsibilities, but as a wise friend suggested…I was helping him break the lessons into smaller parts.
As the afternoon progressed, he tried to return to the more relaxed approach that he liked. I explained, “When you…You will earn more time.”
Drawing, cursive and exercise were crossed off the list and then more piano arguing. Finally, we tackled the piano practice on the list. I thought once he was done, he would say, “Oh, I remember doing this” or “That was a little bit fun.” Instead, he said that playing the piano made his stomach hurt and he hated it.
With this response, I found myself questioning my decision. After a long debate, we came up with a compromise that seemed to be a win-win situation. He had shown interest in fencing, but was very apprehensive to sign up for the class. In order to ease some of his concerns, we arranged to observe a class. Because of this, we agreed that if he wanted to take some fencing lessons, we would put piano on the back burner for a while.
When I really think about it, it isn’t that I want him to do something that he has no interest in. I want him to have enough time to make an educated decision and to find activities that he can practice and feel good about his achievements. I truly don’t care if it is piano, writing, art or fencing….just something! If I’m being totally honest, it is easier for me to just let my son play video games, especially when I am trying to get work done. However, I know this only helps me for a short time and it makes it more challenging for my son in the long run.
How do you help your child develop a wider range of interests? Do you “force” sports or music lessons? I would love to hear your thoughts!
PS I included a picture of when he used to love playing piano and would write his own tunes 🙂
We do not force activities because its just a waste of money and makes everyone angry. I tried to interest him in other things but he is stubborn. Forcing him will not w
I totally understand…I am trying to nudge him but sometimes…it is a lot of work!
I don’t force activities either, they have to have an interest and it’s best if they think it’s their idea. Sometimes I plant the “seeds” and he comes around and announces his new idea! The one area that I do force is swimming lessons, however I go at his pace. If he wants to take some time off from swim for a while we do, then we pick it up again 3-6 months later.
Swimming and OT during the summer were both non-negotiables.
I was hoping that a reintroduction of piano might remind him how he once liked it…he didn’t 😦
My girl used to love to play the piano and has just…stopped. It makes me sad, but if I push, she will push back. I know what you mean about video games being the easy out…I wonder why all this is so hard? At least you are not alone!
Thank you so much for your support and comments!
My son loves the challenge of beating his personal best in Mine Craft; however, there is so much luck and other circumstances, that when he feels he has done his best but he still loses…he experiences tremendous frustration.
Maybe it is the fact that he is an active, inquisitive, persistent, only child but the games give me a break and he is content.
I played piano as a child and stopped and loved when early on he was writing his own music and was very interested. Loved the sound of piano in the house and thought he could be very good. Once he was told how to play it “the right way” he was done.
So we keep exposing him to new things 🙂
If it is something my kids asked to do, I do make them complete the commitment/activity. For example, they both asked for piano lessons. Up front, I said I’d pay for a year…I think that was because that was the minimum commitment the teacher would make. When they resisted practicing, I left them to explain their lack of progress to their teacher. I didn’t pester them. I just paid the bill. At the end of the year, they each quit. Fast forward a few years…they each came back to it. They taught themselves how to play popular songs from the radio by watching others on YouTube. I feel like its my job to offer opportunity and support curiosity. It’s their job to develop true passion for whatever makes them happy. Both of my kids love music and love to play, now, not only the piano but the ukelele too. Their uncle got them interested in that. He doesn’t charge for lessons! 😉
Love the sound of the ukelele 🙂
If my son doesn’t return to piano, I hope he picks a different instrument along the way 🙂