"We Paid Someone To Teach Our Daughter How To Ride A Bike" - Mommish article

We Paid Someone To Teach Our Daughter How To Ride A Bike

I’m not sure how to take this. It’s her money and she has every right to do as she wishes but the article reeks of … something that makes me bristle.

What for? They’ll probably continue to drive her everywhere since I doubt they’ll let her beyond the driveway alone.

I don’t see paying someone to teach a kid to ride a bike as inherently different than paying someone to teach a kid to swim, which is a pretty common and acepted parenting practice. If you don’t have the time, or the know-how, or the right kind of practice area, hey why not?

BUT, the article was a little ick-inducing, because the reason no one taught the kid was because “I couldn’t bear the thought of her maybe possibly getting hurt.” If your fear is so paralyzing it leads you to neglect your child’s best interest, there’s a bit of a problem. What’s the next thing that’s too scary for the kid to learn? Sex ed? Driving? Having a bank account? And then there’s a follow-up justification which amounts to “and there’s no way I could prevent myself from acting like a complete asshole.” The mind boggles.

Don’t most kids teach themselves to ride a bike? Maybe with training wheels, and maybe a parent to explain how the brakes work and steady the bike for the first five minutes, but it doesn’t really strike me as the sort of thing that you have to be taught, so much as given space and time to figure it out on your own.

(That said, I am totally with her on the driving lessons: my parents are perfectly competent at teaching things that don’t involve the possibility of instant death or major property damage, but they had absolutely NO business teaching anybody how to drive, and luckily they figured that out before too long. Unluckily, the first driving teacher they hired also had no business teaching anybody how to drive. It takes a certain temperament to teach that sort of thing with equanimity.)

I suspect you’re not bristling over the money but because there are certain things we just expect parents to teach their kids whether the parents are capable of teaching or not - like bike riding, basic sports skills like how to throw and catch a ball , basic cooking. For other skills , we expect parents to pay for lessons. No one thinks twice about piano lessons, or dance classes. The problem is of course if the parents don’t know how to ride a bike or cook or throw a ball or (more likely) don’t have the ability to teach, whether due to impatience or fear. Then it might come down to paid lessons or the kid never learns to ride a bike.

If I’d had children, I’d have cheerfully paid a much calmer person to teach driving. Bike-riding, my parents taught me, but they weren’t the type to live in terror that I might bump my knee or some such. They accepted that a few dings, bruises, and scrapes were part of being a kid.

I suppose if you didn’t know how to ride a bike, this might be a great option.
And yes, nothing inherently wrong with paying someone to teach your child a skill you don’t know - many single mothers (as in the story) and even many single dads would probably pay to have their son lean to play baseball, and yes - people pay to teach their kids how to play tennis or ski or swim.

Still, this is hardly something I would brag about.
This is usually something you teach your child while walking down the street with them, or taking them to a park. Start of with tricycle, then two-wheeler with training wheels and eventually go for it without the training wheels. I would say it is less of “teaching them” to ride a bike than simply being with them and letting them learn on their own…but you do have to spend some time with them while they are doing so.

My best friend in high school had had a nanny his entire life - she taught him most of these things parents would teach their kids - how to swim, ride a bike, play games, groom, buy clothes, interact with kids and share, a love for reading and classical music - pretty much she was the mother.
Then again, his father was a busy doctor/surgeon and the mother had some psychological issues and a slight problem with substance abuse - so in his situation, it was probably for the best. He turned out great.

So yeah, nothing wrong with paying someone to teach your kid skills you don’t know/can’t teach…but riding a bike? When you do, in fact, know how to ride a bike? Well, I don’t think I would shout this to the world. Personally, I pity the kid that neither parent took the time and waited until the kid was nine years old to even have some else do this.

I can see being unable to bear watching your kid doing something - (my son does some kind of BMX trick riding that I can’t even watch videos of ), but nine is a little late to wait for bike riding lessons- if you can’t do it yourself, you should probably hire someone when the kid is five or six.

Yea I remember feeling annoyed by seeing this woman who had her nanny carry her infant, her hands were free and they had a car she just paid the nanny to follow her carrying the baby. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, the baby certainly was well cared for, it was just a cultural bias in me that caused me to be annoyed by it. I was projecting about what kind of person would hate carrying their own baby so much they would pay someone to do it. I imagine that is the same reason people would get annoyed by this, they are projecting about what kind of person wouldn’t want to teach their own child a basic skill.

I find it odd that she even felt the need to write an article declaring this shocking fact like it was a cry of freedom from social norms.

If someone said to me, “my kid got bike riding lessons, she learned it one day!” I would be very mildly surprised because bike riding lessons hadn’t occurred to me, but I wouldn’t think less of her as a parent.

I think she and I must run in different circles, I don’t really think of bike riding as an important rite of parenting passage. My older two taught themselves to ride and my six year old hasn’t yet.

I suck at teaching my kids things. I pretty much farm teaching stuff out to their father, the school system or private lessons. And there’s some stuff that they just don’t learn and I figure they’ll learn it when it’s important.

It is friggin WONDERFUL that you can pay people to teach your kids how to do stuff.

Do they have shoe tying lessons? six year old hasn’t learned that either.

As a Mom I learned I was not so good at certain things.

Depending on the kid … teaching your own child to do something like swim or ride a bike can suddenly downward spiral into a tearful melt down by one or both parties. My daughter refused to listen to me when she was learning to swim. However, she listened to our neighbor when he gave her swimming tips. She learned from him. He also taught her to ride a bike after watching us struggle with this lesson. I taught his son to dance when he was anxious about his first school dance. Our son was easy to teach when it came to anything involving physical skills.

Me to son: “Try riding without the training wheels. I’ll run along so you won’t fall.”
Son: “OK” … off he goes. I am an awesome Mom!

A few years later …

Me to daughter: “Try riding without training wheels. I’ll run along so you won’t fall.”
Daughter in tears: “I can’t.” … sobbing ensues. I am a crap Mom who fails.

Parenting is a very humbling growth opportunity. :smiley:

If you find some, let me know! I’d pay good money for someone to teach my boys how to tie their shoes.

Hey, I wouldn’t mind teaching shoe-tying (unless I’m dealing with teenage gangsta wannabes). :slight_smile:

The comments below that article were amusing.

It won’t do you any good. They won’t get tied no matter what you do.


I learned even a little later than that, because I had no interest whatsoever. Not because I was more inclined to sit on the couch stuffing my face with cheetos - I was a bookish kid, but I still loved to roam and spent most of my days outside with my friends anyway. Nope, for whatever reason I just never developed an interest in them and none of my friends were big enthusiasts. So one summer when I was around age 10 or 11 my divorced mother and her then boyfriend decided that in my ignorance I was subverting the American dream and must learn for my greater good. They were quite certain that once over the hump that I would embrace the glorious bicycle and go forth into the world with joy in my heart and fast bike under my rear. So despite my stubborn lack of enthusiasm they bought me a rundown used bike and forced me to learn, teaching me themselves ( I at least successfully argued them into taking me to remote parking lots so I could be spared any local humiliation ). And I did. After they were satisfied I had sufficiently mastered basic bike-riding 101, I was returned to my own devices.

I have never ridden a bike since. Exhibit A for the argument that “you’ll be happy one day we made you do this” does not always come true :p.

I learned from friends who already knew how to ride. Also Pro Tip: Teach braking and falling before pedaling and balance.

If you ever visit Amsterdam you may eventually locate your gratitude that your parents made you learn something against your will.

It ain’t over 'till it’s over.

The “I can’t stand the thought of her getting hurt” attitude is irksome, but I’m saddened by the idea of a dad who’s an avid cyclist who can’t take the time out from working to teach his daughter something they could share, short of his work involving deployment or something else out of the country entirely.

I could understand it if neither parent could ride. Otherwise, no. I don’t get it.

Junior and Juniorette are going to get hurt regardless of who’s teaching them. Whether it’s a skinned knee or bruised ego, something’s bound to get hurt during the process. Who would you rather have comfort them? A paid stranger? Or you?

It took me a long time to learn how to ride. I didn’t think I’d ever learn. But my father never gave up on me and we both shared in the happy moment when I was able to take off all on my own. Hell yes, learning to ride a bike was a major thing for me. I was eight years old when I learned. I moved up from “baby” to “queen of the world” in the instant I learned how to stay upright on that thing. I will NEVER forget that moment. I still see myself flying down the sidewalk, thinking “this is amazing…oh shit, how do I stop!!!”

To me, this where the driving analogy falls apart. There is no happy “look at me, daddy!” moment when you’re learning to drive.

But I guess some folk relish different kinds of memories with their kids.