Diary of a Dad: Week 37 - Pushy Parents


Thinking about pushy parents has always made me laugh. I’ve always said I’ll encourage the boys to do things and help them where I can, but I’ve never wanted to really push them. It’s not in my nature U.K. be like that and I just can’t do it. Yes, I’ll give them more encouragement (let’s call it) if I know they’re playing up, but I never want them to do things they don’t want to.

Our eldest is obsessed with football at the moment and we’re at the park most days kicking the ball around. He’s really coming in and he’s getting fairly decent in fairness…but he’s not even 5 yet. I’m not making him do drills and push-ups in the hope he’ll turn pro (and pay my mortgage off) or anything like that. We go and play and he has fun and gets muddy and we go home. There no structure to it, he’s just playing!

We were at the park the other day though and a boy his age was getting absolutely bearded by his dad. It was all so intense. “No! Like this,” “concentrate!” “Come on!!” It was so difficult to listen to and watch. It was the definition of pushy. The poor kid didn’t want coaching, he wanted to have a kick about with his dad.

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Was it unfulfilled dreams? Was it that the dad wanted his boy to have the best chance of success? Was it that dad didn’t have a clue? I’ll never know.

Now we all parent differently, don’t get me wrong. Maybe that little boy wanted a bit of guidance from his dad (or a total beasting!) but it just highlighted to me how we all approach this differently. I’m not sure I could be that direct with a 4-year-old at the park…

We don’t have crystal balls, do we? We can’t know how our kids are going to turn out and we’re all essentially guessing and hoping we do the right thing by them. It might turn out that being pushy will benefit my kids. Am I letting them down by not being more like Head Coach Dad? I don’t think so…but like I say, how are we to know?

I really do want my mortgage paid off by my professional footballing son, but I want him to be happy more than I want to be debt-free. When they’re little, it’s about enjoying them, isn’t it? We all get carried away don’t we…but having a bit of patience and not rushing your kids along means you enjoy them so much more.

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