Today we took my oldest to her karate class and it was entertaining. When she first started she would spin around and dance when the instructor was giving the lessons. I was tempted to pull her out of class until I felt she was old enough, but my wife insisted that if we just give her time and reminded me that we honestly couldn't beat the price for entertainment. I couldn't argue against it because the alternative would be to trying to find something else to do during that time and I didn't like my wife's idea of cruising through the mall.
So, we kept going to class and I found myself getting more and more frustrated as she danced and pranced around while all the other kids tried hard to making it through the lessons. I became one of those over baring parents that you see in the movies (constantly telling my kid not to do this or that). Then one day, something happened... she asked me not to watch her.
...didn't want me to be part of this.
At first, I was upset. I mean, I was trying to help her get it right!
It took a while to dawn on me. Was I really helping her by constantly correcting her? She's four years old, she shouldn't have to worry about being perfect. As a parent, I only get one chance to experience these things. I was forcing my own perfectionist views on my daughter and if I wasn't carefull I'd plant a seed doubt in her that would nag her for the rest of her days just like me.
So, one day. I set her down (as best as I can) and told her that I love her and would always be proud of her. I stopped trying to "couch" her and now she asks that I come to her classes. She smiles when I tell her that I saw what she was doing in class. And most important to me, she's proud of herself.