Letting Your Child Pursue Something They Suck At Can Be A Valuable Lesson
It’s important to be honest with your children whenever possible. Doling out false or overly frequent praise isn’t helpful either because if a child thinks everything they do is amazing, what motivation do they have to keep trying? On the other side of that coin, parents shouldn’t rush to tell their child if something they enjoy doing doesn’t appear to be something they’re actually good at. Letting your child try an activity or sport that doesn’t come easily can teach them a lot about hard work. Also, they might end up being fantastic it at after putting forth a lot of effort.
A parent on Reddit asks the community about whether they should tell their 10-year old daughter who enjoys singing that it might not be something she’s too great at:
I do see where they’re coming from. You want to spare your child from feeling embarrassed and you also don’t want them to waste time on something they may not be good at when they could be spending it discovering a talent for something else. But what if your child isn’t overly concerned with being the very best singer? What if they simply enjoy performing and want to keep doing it because it’s fun? Not every activity needs to be pursued with winning or being the best in mind. Using singing as an example, think of adults who join church choir or enjoy weekly karaoke. They might not be talented from Simon Cowell’s perspective but it’s something they like to do and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Some Redditors told this parent to enroll the girl in voice lessons and help her learn to be a better singer. I completely agree with that idea. Even if she is never good enough to land the lead in a school musical she could still learn to be a passable singer and nab a role in the choir. And if she does realize at some point that she isn’t very good? So be it. She can look back and know that she tried something, that she put forth the effort, and that her parents gave her room to figure it out. She won’t ever have to wonder if she should have done it — she did it.
From a personal perspective, I can say that kids often figure out on their own what they are and aren’t great at. My daughter is pretty athletic and incredibly tall so of course, everyone told us to enroll her in basketball. She tried it last year and while she wasn’t the worst on the team, it was clear that she didn’t have the talent for it that she had for other sports. She told us this past winter that she would rather not play another season because it wasn’t her favorite. We never had to sit her down and “break” the news that it probably wouldn’t be her best sport, she sensed it herself. And even if she hadn’t? We would still sign her up if she wanted to try. There are lessons even in failing or losing. I see little value in only letting your child pursue things they can breeze through. They need to learn perseverance somehow and things like sports and activities throughout childhood is a great way to do it