Every parents desire their children to do well in their respective areas, be it academics, music, art, sports, etc. In the midst of striving for excellence, we sometimes forgot that as children grows up; they cultivate their own set of thinking and mindset towards life. What they deem as important, might not necessary be the same as what their parents think. Though many times at that young age, their decisions might not necessary be good for themselves and they do not fully understand why. We might not be able to identify or understanding that mindset but to them it is important and vital that we respect that thoughts and space within them.
The tug of war to do what they want at the very moment in comparison to what parents think is important at the same moment sometimes create conflict. Such persistence conflicts will slowly result in burnout within the child, as their main motivation towards the goal is not internalized. They became unmotivated, upset and tantrums began to surface. They are tired of doing the same thing day in day out; they lose their interest in their school works and their hobbies that they previously enjoyed. These are signs of burnout.
Few months back, while returning home after fetching my girl from school, she casually mentioned that she really enjoy her 20mins recess time because that’s the time she can do whatever she want. My girl grew up with a disciplined and orderly nature. She sets her own priorities and has her own timetable during the day for her schoolwork, hobbies and free time. However, as she get involved in more hobbies/interests and school work gets harder as the years progress, she discovered that she do not have as much “personal time” as she would like to have. Yet her school work and hobbies demand more and more time as they progress to higher level.
As much as parents like to be creative and innovative in motivating our children in learning, at some point, that learning experience will slip into a “drilling mode”. The kids will have to keep practicing the same song for their piano exam, instead of doing Math in a fun way, they will be ask to do assessment books after assessment books, school papers after school papers. After all, practice does make perfect and drilling yields certain level of result for some kids. Even Olympic swimmers with talents in swimming still need to put in hours and hours of practice.
Result – An unmotivated burnout child. She wanted to do well but lose that motivation.
As kids grow up, they will begin to want their own personal space. When things do not turn out well, we tend to jump right into the issues, trying to solve the problems and often forgot that they are just a child. Many a times, they might not fully understand our intention, thus it is important that we learn to take a step back and give room and time for both parents and child time to think through. Creating that personal space for them and respecting that space is a good starting point for building up that positive environment again.
In my girl’s case, after much thoughts and discussion, we concluded that she needed some personal space. We started to give her a complete 1 hour "do as you like" time daily – half an hour in the day and half an hour at night. We still keep to a schedule but allow more flexibility and personal space for her.
It helps not because she gets this free time but psychologically she was given the space she needed. She improves in your mood and things get back to normal again. So we concluded that she is probably burn-out and needed that personal space.
So now we have a new slogan at home: “Space out to prevent Burnout”