I Almost Made This Classic Parenting Mistake

Filed in Living by on April 6, 2017 0 Comments

This is one of my favorite pictures of Anderson, because it captures his often playful and mischievous look. He is very “spirited,” as the dog trainers tend to say euphemistically. He seems to be always spoiling for a fight, or at least a good, rough-and-tumble play session, and with my high energy level, he’s met his match!

In a previous post I told you how I planned to do some things differently with Anderson than I did with our previous dog Munson. This included giving him a “show cut” grooming style and training him for use as a therapy dog.

I may still do both of those things, but I was neglecting one essential thing: What kind of dog is Anderson? What suits his personality and will make him most happy? What does he want?

It’s the classic parental mistake of predetermining what your child will be before you actually get to know your child, their likes and dislikes, and their wishes and desires.

I am finding out that Anderson has a high energy level and loves to play and be involved in some action. Some dogs are quiet, submissive, and often happiest if left alone. Not Anderson. He wants to rumble!

I have also found that Anderson has remarkable athletic abilities. As I have shown you before, he sits on his hind legs like a chipmunk. Now I see that if I approach him aggressively when he is sitting like that he can even hop backward in that position and maintain his balance! Also, when we play fetch, and he runs with his toy back to the couch, he can leap from a yard or more away and land smoothly and effortlessly right alongside me.

So now I am beginning to think a “show cut” might require too much maintenance for such an active dog, and also that he might enjoy agility course training and recreation more than therapy work.

I have not yet given up on either of my original goals for him, because he will continue to change and evolve as he becomes an adult, but I have decided I will not allow my preconceived ideas to get in the way of his natural abilities and inclinations.

Have you ever made the mistake of trying to force fit your child into a sport, hobby, type of school, or whatever, based more on your own personal desires and preconceived ideas, and less on your child’s personality, talents and dreams? If so, now is as good a time as any for a course correction. You live your life, and simply help them live theirs. You will both be much happier!

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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