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Old 29.08.2011, 10:27
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Re: Lazy parents make happy families

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My take on it is that there are activities (or may be all of them?) that are much more easy to learn when you are young (from biking and up to the languages). Kids could have various inclinations for learning or not (depends on the parents, but also on the peers, etc.). It is not clear for me how to strike a right balance.
The only thing I've made non-negotiable is learning to swim. My son had absolutely no interest in swimming as a leisure activity, but grudgingly agreed at age 6 or 7 that most adults seem to be able to swim, so he must have to learn at some point and it may as well be now. He did one-to-one lessons in order to minimise the timeline for both of us, and was swimming within 4 or 5 lessons. He finished the course of 10 lessons able to swim a length of the adult-sized pool (our agreed target). I did ask if he'd now like to do group classes for fun and improvement, but nope. Now, aged 11, he can swim well enough to lark about with his mates at the pool without me having to hover and supervise. At some point, I imagine social pressure will make him want to develop better technique to impress girls.

I'm with you on bike riding too - this is mine and the kids' main form of transport - plus rollerskating/ice skating, as this is definitely easier to learn as a kid. Not as far to fall, for starters. In fact, mine both seem to fling themselves down on the ice for fun. He can ski a little too, well enough to slither down red runs in an enthusiastic but slightly ungainly fashion.

None of this has happened via scheduled classes, though. The skiing is from a couple of private lessons and then just practising, the rest is from trial and error. I agree that all these skills are useful to develop as a child, but we've managed to instil them without once committing to turning up every week on Tuesday from 4-5pm. He enjoys the activities - I think it's the commitment he has issues with. What if he simply doesn't feel like going one week? What if he gets a better offer? etc.

I can see he's going to be a nightmare for his girlfriends.
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