How hard should you push your child to excel in music? Or, for that matter, in anything? Can we push them too much, too hard? We all want our kids to be great, to do great things, but at what cost? How much should we push them?
There is no right answer! There are too many variables involved! But most of us need to be pushed at some point. Pushed to continue, prodded to practice, nudged to strive for perfection.
How hard should you push your child?
It depends. Depends on a number of things.
- How old is your child?
- What is your child like? What kind of temperament does he have?
- How do she respond to “pushing?”
- What is the relationship like between you and your child?
- What are your child’s goals? (Not your goals for them!)
- How serious are they about what they are doing? Is this a passion of theirs, or just another interest?
- Do you “prod and nudge,” or are you “pushing and shoving?”
- Are you looking at things from a realistic perspective?
All these factors play into how hard we should push them to excel.
Can You Nudge a Child Towards Greatness?
All of us are different.
Each of us has different goals, desires, learning styles, interests, passions, etc. What works for one child might totally backfire with a different child. Some children are much more self-motivated than others. Others take longer to develop that self-motivation. So we may need to gently push them in that direction. But at the same time, we don’t want to push them to the point of rebellion. The joys of being a parent. I often thought that each child should be born with their own unique instruction book. Life would be so much easier that way.
Always encourage your child to do their best.
Not just in music, but in everything in life. Urge them to be the best they can be, and always strive to improve.
Always support them and their efforts.
And then encourage them to exceed their current abilities, to progress, to move forward.
Help them to love what they do.
Practicing is not always fun. Practice can get boring. Maybe your child is working on a piece they don’t like at all. Or maybe they think their current music is too hard, or too easy. But none of those are reasons to give up or quit. Encourage them to keep on. Push them to continue, to get past the current “season” of dislike, the current plateau. At some point they will thank you.
But don’t push them so hard that they start to hate their music, their lessons, their instrument.
Don’t push them to the point that they resent playing. Recognize that they may have other interests as well. Give them time to be kids. Yes, you can require them to practice and go to lessons, that’s a given. Make music a part of their life, but don’t make music their entire life unless that is what they want.
Self-Motivation is the Ultimate Goal
The ultimate goal is for them to become self-motivated to practice and do well. Unfortunately, most of us are not born with that; we have to learn it, have it “drilled” into us.
LIFE LESSON ALERT: Self-motivation applies to all of life!
If any of us are going to be successful at anything, we must become self-motivated. Learn to go beyond the bare minimum required. Exceed expectations. Don’t be afraid to push your child in that direction. Some day they will thank you.
You might also enjoy this post – Realistic Expectations