Is it disappointment for myself that I feel, now that my son has decided not to continue with ballet? I don’t believe it is. Instead a mixture of uncertainty and doubt about my skills as a parent. Will he regret it? I wonder; or has someone put him off with claims he is gay or a sissy for doing it? He is 11, and has tried it only once. He was due to return this morning, instead he informed me that he didn’t want to do it, hadn’t enjoyed it as much as he claimed last week. Here is where the parental dilemma creeps in. Should I push him into continuing, he had said he wanted to learn; does allowing him to stop so quickly mean I’m encouraging a ‘give up’ attitude? What to do, what to do. I insisted he pause the film he watching to discuss his reasons. He hid behind a cushion! Talk to me I insisted, make me understand. I tried to explain that I didn’t want him to regret his decision in a few months, or years. That he is making a decision that impacts his future path. Had he imagined himself on stage, I asked. If so that dream will fade if he halts the steps that could make it a reality. He said he didn’t want to be on stage, he wanted to be strong. I think I would prefer gymnastics, he said, that would still make me strong, I would continue with that.
How do we ever know what is really in our children’s head? Had he ever really wanted to try ballet, or had it been something he had simply thrown out there, a comment he hadn’t expected to have meaning. Is it the same with gymnastics? Does he really want to try, or simply likes the idea of it. What does that say abut my parenting skills if I allow him to try and stop, am I encouraging him to adopt a half-hearten attitude. Or am I reflecting on my own wasted chances; now that I’m older and see the world clearer; can see the paths I could have taken had I not given up. How to teach him that you have to work at what you want. you can try gymnastics, I said to him, you can try anything you want, but you have to find the class. This may work, this may back- fire, at least he will understand (hopefully) that he has made it happen; in life he has to make things happen.