Darn the thread title length limit!
What I am trying to ask here is do you think it is necessary to subject your children to things they don’t enjoy, simply to show them that life isn’t all a bowl of cherries?
I’m not talking about school or something mandatory. I mean theoretically optional things, maybe sports, electives, or volunteer activities.
One school of thought seems to be that parents should try to make childhood enjoyable because it only happens once. Reality invades all too soon, and children are going to learn eventually that life can be unpleasant, some people don’t enjoy their jobs or where they live, people you love are going to die, and so on.
The other school of thought seems to be that children should for these very reasons be shown early on that life isn’t always fun, and that they are going to have to do things they don’t enjoy. Making little Joey play T-ball even though he doesn’t like it will build character, he will learn teamwork and he will thank you later on, etc. etc.
Needless to say as a parent I am conflicted on this issue. My natural instinct is to protect my son from pain and unplesantness, at least as much as I reasonably can. He is only six and I figure soon enough he will learn life can suck. His grandparents are going to get sick and die, there will be bullies on the playground when Dad isnt’ around, and on and on.
At the same time I don’t want to coddle him though. Maybe learning to deal with mild unpleasantness from time to time teaches you to deal with the bigger hits you will inevitably encounter?
So how about it. Do you think we should intentionally subject our kids to experiences they don’t enjoy, for their own good?