Here's a recent and concrete example. Sesame Street Live came to town this past weekend. We went last year and A loved it (see Weekend with Elmo), we even went to Sesame Place twice last summer, so we thought we'd go to the show again this year, but in the back of my mind, I wasn't sure that A would love it as much this time around. Well, that little voice wasn't too far off.
We tried to get him excited about the show before going, but I could see that the excitement wasn't quite there. He got ready without a problem Saturday morning, but as we were pulling into a parking spot, he said he didn't want to go to the show, he wanted to go back home to water the plants! He was starting to become louder about not going, so I did what all good parents do.... I resorted to bribery. I told A that if he was good during the first half of the show, he could pick a gift at intermission. It made sense at the time, but looking back I wonder if I am completely crazy. Who needs to bribe their kid to go to a show that is really for them anyway? I mean, I like Cookie Monster and Elmo, but if A wasn't here, we wouldn't be going.
The bribery worked, A sat quietly during the first half, he watched the show, but kept asking me "when can we go get my present?"
He was very happy with them and watched quietly the second half of the show, although he did ask several times "when can we go home?"
A obviously didn't have a horrible time, but he wasn't exactly thrilled with the show either. In
His defense, SleepyPapa and I both thought the show was a bit disappointing, clearly not as good as last year. But should we not go to shows at all for a while? Maybe I'll wait for him to ask me to go next time, but I feel like if I wait for him to ask to go somewhere, we'll never go anywhere. I want him to be exposed to different things, but I also don't want to turn him off by forcing him to do things he doesn't enjoy. When to try, when not to try?
Should I keep pushing him to do stuff? Should I give up and just stick to what I know works? So you have to push your kids to do fun things?