I (Melissa) recently met with a young soccer player named Andrea. She was to compete in a state tournament but had to choose between the tournament and a family trip to Europe that had been planned for six months. When she told her coach, the coach became angry. This was Andrea's response to the coach's anger: "I hate that my parents are making me go on the trip. Not that I don't want to go, but I just feel bad hurting my coach. She was a really good soccer player when she was in high school and would give anything to get to play in this tournament."
Andrea is acting as a redemption child for her soccer coach. She is fulfilling her coach's dreams and wishes for her life. We also see this happen in families. A parent who loved cheerlead-ing makes her daughter try out for cheerleading year after year, when the daughter hates it and is more creative than athletic. Or a father makes his athletic daughter take art lessons twice a week because his parents discouraged his artistic inclinations while he was growing up.
These parents can't see past their own unfulfilled dreams or glory days. They don't seem to care about the desires or even the talents of their daughter. The parents are either reliving the life they lived or living the life they wanted but never had—through their child. The lens is cloudy.
What often happens is that the kids become angry. They feel that who they are doesn't matter to their parents as much as who their parents want them to be. So they fail on purpose or start to pull away emotionally from their parents.
There are times to make your daughter participate in different activities (see chapter 3). She needs to experience a variety of interests before she is able to discover her passions and her talents. But she will have passions and talents that may well be different than yours. As she grows older, it is important that she discover her own identity apart from yours, and she needs to feel your love and admiration whether she is an artist, an athlete, or just your independent-minded little girl.
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