“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the un-lived life of the parent."
~ C.J. Jung
A man in China is determined to make his son become proficient at adult-level activities that skip his childhood. His son is only 5 years old but has already been trained to sail a boat and fly a plane. Next up is a hike through Tibet. The young boy has also been forced to exercise in freezing weather without his clothes! This father calls himself an, 'Eagle Dad'. He was recently featured on the TODAY show.
In an odd way, this man is a better father than some out there. He is actively involved in his child's life. And although misguided in my opinion, he wants the best for his son. But what we have here is a father that is out of balance in the opposite direction of what we usually think - which is a dad not involved enough! This Dad is involved to the point of interfering in his child's normal development.
Many of us want our sons to be lawyers, accountants, priests, athletes, or whatever it is we wanted to be. We want our daughters to be moms, corporate leaders, dancers or doctors. Nothing is wrong with that until you push too hard your way while your kids show interests in other things. Beyond that, we have to allow our children to be kids first and to develop at a pace that is comfortable for them. This doesn't mean that kids never need to be pushed a little, but pushed to be a better them, not a better you.
This Eagle Dad is harming his son in ways the father may not understand. His son's maturity and emotional state are not ready for these more complicated lessons. In the words of Eagle Dad, "It's up to the parents to decide what kind of person they become." If he is talking about having values, a good attitude, and integrity, he has a point. If he means being this or that, he is wrong!
How many times have we seen child actors/actresses get into trouble through drugs, inappropriate behavior, or even die through suicide, carelessness and dangerous activity? These issues can often be blamed on a rush through childhood - when the natural lessons of growing up are lost; and when expectations are more than they can handle.
Being aware of and supporting your children's' dreams should be an unselfish endeavor. It's natural and expected for a dad to introduce his interests to his children, but don't expect them to be you or to fulfill your dreams. It is their life to live and not yours.