Bigger, Better, and Faster?

Chad Riddersen

Posted on May 16 2012

Recently, my daughter’s school had a “Bike Day,” when children could bring their bikes/scooters to school and ride freely in an empty parking lot.  I saw several kids with those balance bikes (bikes without pedals/training wheels).  I kid you not, some of these barely 4-year-olds were fully able to ride a 2-wheel bike because of these new bikes.  I was astounded.

I found myself jumping online to look for this particular bike that would help my 4-year-old learn to ride like a pro.  Then I stopped to think – am I becoming THAT mom, who is constantly pushing her children to learn everything sooner than they really need to?  When my kids were infants, I didn’t push them to do anything.  Instead, I celebrated and enjoyed each little milestone that was reached.  At 2-weeks-old I wasn’t forcing my little one to hold her head up high and at 2-months-old I wasn’t buying devices to help her to sit up – why do I find myself looking to do this now?

Whether we like it or not it’s human nature to compare and feel pressure from outside influences.  Take potty training, for instance.  Many of us feel so much pressure to potty train – and quick, but do you know any tweens still in diapers?  My older daughter wasn’t fully potty-trained till she was almost four.  This made my mother and mother-in-law crazy.  They became obsessed with the fact that other 2-year-olds were potty-trained and mine wasn't.  They would even try to accomplish the feat while they were babysitting.  For what?

Recently, I was talking to a friend who chose to start her son in kindergarten at 6 instead of 5 (which so many parents do), so he could have another year to mature and develop.  She was telling me about the ridiculous comments she got from others accusing her of trying to give her son an advantage in sports.  Are you kidding me?

I understand that we live in a competitive world, but these are our babies!  Whether you choose to breastfeed yours till he’s 12, start them on “your baby can read” at age 2, or keep her in diapers till 5, do you what you want to do when you think it's right for your child.  Today's post serves as a little reminder to myself to slow down and let my kids be kids at their own pace, because the incredible freedom that IS childhood does not last long.

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  • BillyC: July 02, 2015

    Great post. Especially when being raised within an asian family, this whole competitiveness thing amongst children is horrible. I was raised compared to other children who were in gifted programs or were always receiving straight A grades whereas I was considered going against the grain as I just wasn’t really into school as much and didn’t care for school subjects that didn’t interest me – I did finish college with so-so grades etc but I never stressed myself into becoming anything I didn’t care to become (ie doctor or lawyer as the other kids).

    It’s funny now that I am a multimillionaire entrepreneur where as many of the same peers that were raised so competitively burned out in college. Of course, being “rich” doesn’t equal success as everyone has a different definition of being successful but I am happy where I am. I will definitley not put this kind of pressure on my little girl.

  • johnloppnow: July 02, 2015

    Great post.
    Parenting is one of the most sensitive topics. I was the perfect parent before I had children. Now, I am humble. I will never judge another parent. I will have my clear values and vision for my kids and would be glad to share with anyone who ASKS for my opinion. Yet, I think it is wise to give freedom to others. Unless, what we see is abusive. Then, we need to take the risk of stepping in. Of course, this is why we need WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT. God, help us all. And, thank you for the beautiful gifts (children) you’ve entrusted us with for way too short of a time. May we love them enough to train them for a while and let them go. I can’t imagine that day.

    *Why would kids move thousands of miles away from their family? (Like we did). ;)

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