Finding the Optimal Push

I’m proud to have an essay published in this month’s New York Family magazine on finding what sports psychologist Larry Lauer calls “the optimal push”: pushing your kids just hard enough to have them reach their full potential. It’s easier said than done, of course, and I certainly don’t have the answers. When I compare myself to other parents– and my kids’ schedules to those of their peers– I can come away feeling both that our house is full of slackers and that I am the awful-est Tiger Mother of all time. Sometimes in the same day.

Please give the essay a read, a like, a share.  And I’d really love to hear your responses, either here, on the New York Family site, or on my Facebook page.

Have you let your child quit something at which you believed he or she had real talent?

Does your child have one day after school that he can come home and stare at the ceiling?

How do you, as a parent, know when you’ve found the optimal push?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen October 7, 2015 at 12:43 am

Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. My husband and I have always been determined not to over schedule our boys, currently 13 and 11. I love your idea one one athletic ring and one artistic thing – although I can’t say we’ve followed through on the implementation.

The fact that other parents push their kids so much more, causing me to worry that they won’t be able to compete – or even keep up with – them, really makes me ANGRY.

I believe we push kids academically and with extracurricular activities way too far. I find myself asking ‘can’t we just let them be kids?!’ all the time!

Really well-written article here that expresses much of what I feel. Thank you!!!


Amy Wilson October 11, 2015 at 1:40 am

Thank you Karen! It’s nice to hear I’m not the only parent struggling with this…


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