Here in Australia, the Biggest Loser TV series is on again. This is a family favourite for us - our girls love watching it and I think it is a good thing for them to watch and be aware of what can happen when you let yourself and your body go, when you don't exercise or eat healthily
Watching the show this year, I've particularly noticed how much the trainers are telling the contestants to push themselves out of their comfort zones. They have made comments, that some of the contestants , particularly the younger ones, have never done this before and don't know how it feels to push themselves.
I believe that learning to push yourself is something that every child should learn at a young age.
When something is difficult or painful, by far the easiest option is to stop, to give up. But knowing when and how to push on, helps develop skills of determination, confidence and that of overcoming fears.
In watching our girls as they grow and encounter new things, I see their reactions of both fear and refusal of trying something new, and that of excitement and wanting to have a go.
Both our girls have experienced both reactions in different situations and at different times, but character-wise one daughter is more prone to the fear than the 'have a go' attitude, and we do our best to help her overcome this and to learn to push herself out of her comfort zone.
There have been times when I've felt like a cruel pushy parent in getting her over a mental hurdle of not wanting to participate in something. (and I'm sure people watching would have perceived me as such). But the end result has been worthwhile as I've seen the joy and delight on my daughter's face as she realises she can do these things -and even better, enjoys them!
The older she has got, the better she has become in pushing herself in situations that may be new or scary and I am proud of her ability to get out of her comfort zone
I think part of learning to push yourself, is learning about consequences of your actions. Watching the Biggest Loser, you can see this clearly over the series as you watch the contestants pushing themselves physically and mentally; the pain this causes them and how hard they find it - but in the end the amazing transformations starkly show the clear benefits of their actions.
In relating this to our kids, I think of academic work - of times when our daughters don't want to do their homework, or spelling practice. They are now beginning to understand the reasoning behind the practice and it's benefits in class as their confidence grows and test results improve.
As a child, I remember my father giving me extra Maths and English work to do each week. It wasn't much, but I never enjoyed it. However, I do remember liking being a little bit ahead at school often and grasping concepts quicker, having already covered them at home with my father (who was a teacher himself). In hindsight, I am grateful to my father for the time he spent helping me push myself at a young age!
As with everything it is important to find a balance and not push your child too much. I hope we achieve this balance and our girls grow up to be both confident and determined with an ability to go out of their comfort zone to move forward and achieve their desires in life.
Do you push your children? Do you believe children should be pushed?