As the kids have gotten older, it has become more and more apparent that my husband, whether he is conscious of it or not, is trying to create “mini me’s” out of our two sons. It’s pretty typical for fathers to hope their sons show interest in some of the same things they did and want them to root for the same sports teams and things like that. As a mom, I’m happy to see my kids enjoy some of the same things I did as well, but I am also happy to see them develop whatever other interests they may have. I certainly wasn’t into karate, and I’m not the most athletic person, but I enjoy watching my kids participate in a variety of athletic activities. I can participate in some of them such as badminton, softball/baseball, and volleyball, but I’m not a racquetball or tennis player, and you couldn’t pay me enough money to put on a pair of skis. I was more into music, theater, and artwork, and I have enjoyed and supported whichever kids have shown an interest in music and/or art. None of them have shown an interest in theater so far, and I’m fine with that. I am not pushing anything on them and am happy to expose them to a whole variety of activities and let them choose what their interests are, and I am right there with them watching as many concerts and games and attending as many art shows as I can.
My husband is a different story though. Yes, he enjoys watching certain sporting events on TV with the kids and doing certain activities with them, but it seems like he is pushing his interests on the kids and doesn’t show much interest in the activities that they choose to do that are not interests of his. If he misses a band concert that I videotape for him to watch, he never asks to watch it. The only sports he ever encourages the kids to try or do are the ones he likes to do. I’m sure part of it is because he wants to have someone to do those things with him, which makes sense. It’s nice to have some common interests with other family members so you can do some things together. However, it has become more about what he wants to do and not what the kids want to do. My daughter has noticed this as well.
Not only does he push his interests on them, but he pushes on them his favorite foods and drinks, favorite brands of clothes and shoes, and even the colleges he hopes they go to, which are the ones he and his siblings went to. The boys have been talking about going to the college he went to since they were in middle school because he hypes it up so much. It’s almost as if they’ve chosen the college they want to go to and will find a major that will work instead of figuring out what they want to study first and then finding a college that is a good fit for them. The only time he shows any interest in shopping with the kids is when it’s to buy them the same brand of shoes or socks he wears or something that’s the same as he uses.
I have tried talking to him about this a few times, but he usually thinks I am upset because they don’t show as much interest in the things I like to do as they do the things he likes to do. He actually asked once, “What things do you like to do that you would like to see them do?” He misses the point every time. It’s not about what I want them to do or what I like to do. It’s about them figuring out what they want and not brainwashing them into thinking that they want the same things that he wants. If any of my kids’ interests happen to be something I also enjoy and can do with them or help them learn how to do, great, but I want them to choose their own interests and not make them feel like they need to choose mine. And the same thing goes for colleges, shoes, clothes, food, drinks, sports teams, and anything else.
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