Doing what your KIDS want even when YOU don’t want to do it!

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Being a kid is HARD.  Your life is full of people telling you what to do, how to do it, and when it is supposed to be done.  I’m pretty sure that would drive me crazy.  Heck, it does drive me crazy, and I’m just the one doing the ordering.

With all of that ordering around, how do we give our kids the freedom that they need to discover their own passions?  To explore who they are and what they want to do?  I’m still in the process of figuring it all out, but I think that freedom is one of the keys.  Freedom to explore, make mistakes, and succeed like crazy.  Yes, we want to raise children who are passionate!

As we go about our family adventures, it’s really easy for us to get into the mindset of what doing what Andrew and I want to do.  When our kids were really little, giving them options was pointless, and it’s easy to stay in that rut.  We’re learning.  We’re backing off and letting our kids do some of the planning.  Choosing what they want to do, and where they want to go.  It’s a learning process for all of us.

Luckily, most of the things that our kids want to do are right up our alley (one of the major benefits of starting your kids on adventures as infants).  The tricky part comes when they want to do something that you just don’t want to do.  It gets worse when it’s something that you’re scared to do.

Such is the case for me with rock climbing.  Andrew is a really great climber.  I pretended to like it until we got married, and once he was stuck with me I told him how much it scared me and that I didn’t really like it.  (Anyone else do something like that…anyone?)  Of course, now our kids are really starting to like it.  A LOT.  In fact, as I type, Andrew and Mason are out for a sunrise climb before work and school.

Could I just back out here and let it be a “man thing”?  Yes, yes I could.  But I can’t.  You see, I don’t want to miss out on the things that they are passionate about.  I want them to want to tell me story after story, and fact after random fact about all of the things that they love, simply because I love them.  It’s a tricky balancing act as a parent.  It’s like when Chloe and I have lots of tea parties and dance ballet all over the house.  It’s not my first choice of things to do, but doing it with her and the smile on her face as we twirl around together makes it simply magical.

So what do I do about the climbing?  The same climbing that terrifies me?  I fake it.  I pretend like I’m having the time of my life, and in a way I am because I’m doing it with my kids.  I’m ever eager to belay or take pictures and then simply choose to climb on simple routes when it’s my turn.  It makes me more comfortable and helps me to avoid the humiliation of getting stuck up on a rock and bawling like a baby in front of my kids.  For now it works (though I’m sure like most things, it will constantly evolve).

What do you do when your kids want to do something that you don’t like?


  • Tanya says:

    Rock climbing was the same for me. I also did it before we got married and into our first year or two. Then I realized that I just didn’t like it and was trying too hard to get good at something that was just never going to be my thing. Also, like you, my husband LOVES climbing. And I want my son to learn to climb. I believe it’s important to raise a well rounded outdoor child so we are trying to expose our son to everything from climbing to hiking, paddling, and cycling. I know that I’m going to have to be involved in the family climbing process – even if it’s just to belay. And I’m ok with that if it means that my son grows to like it. If he doesn’t, it will just be Dad’s thing – and I’m very ok with that too.

    Last summer I also got a bike after not biking since I was a kid. It’s still not my fav. sport but I know that it’s important we do it as a family if I’m going to motivate my son to ride. And he needs to see me enjoy it. Otherwise, he could ask some day why we are making him do it if I don’t even like it.

  • Fortunately I love climbing as do my children. The one thing they love doing that I absolutely hate, is fishing. Luckily since I am a single mom, they spend every other wknd with their dad and when they are with him they get their fishing fix since I can’t bring myself to do it. May sound terrible, but I just can’t take them to do it.

  • Tristen Lawrence says:

    I’m not a huge fan of doing the actual climbing (well, sometimes I love it, but outdoors and on a hard route scares me to death too) but I do love the experience of climbing and I’ve found that doing it with kids is easy– mostly they just want to belay anyways, so you climb once or twice in a day and the rest is about helping them to do what they love. 🙂 Great post!

  • Caleb says:

    I feel my wife is sort of like you. Although it doesn’t terrify her, she definitely doesn’t like it as much as I do. We have a 8 month old daughter that I’m just aching to take climbing. I can only hope she really gets into it! I love that you see your husbands and kids passion for climbing and desire to suppor it. My wife does as well. We are taking a trip to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch this weekend for a family camping/climbing trip.

  • Kate C says:

    My husband and I have been climbing together for more than 10 years now. It’s one of the passions that our relationship is based on. And while we’ve had some years with less climbing and some with more, it’s something we always come back to as a love. So far, our son has enjoyed it as well, but I know kids like to do their own things, and I know in my heart… he’ll probably end up a kayaker. Oh man. If there was ever anything I find terrifying, it’s white water! I just hope I’ll be able to accept his passions, whatever they may be, and suck it up for his benefit. 😉

  • Kate C says:

    Oh PS – we should get our families together for some climbing this summer! We’re pretty flexible… if you’ve got a free weekend shoot me a line! 🙂

    • bringthekids says:

      Free weekend? What are those? Just kidding. June is pretty packed, but let’s hook up later in the summer!

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