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Bowling News USA - July 22, 2014 Whose Dreams Are They Living?...Insight by Shayna Ng

Written by Shayna Ng •

Since young, I’ve always enjoyed playing sports. I started being in the competitive arena when I was in my primary school Netball team. This was before I added bowling into my repertoire; a field in which I’ve managed to attain substantial success. Throughout my entire bowling career, I always reminded myself of how fortunate I am. Not only because of the success I’ve achieved on the lanes, but also because of the never-ending support I had from my parents. This I strongly believe is one of the contributing factors for my success. Both my parents have been through every step of my bowling journey with me, from cheering me on from the sidelines to following live scores across the world.

And despite the huge time and financial investment my parents gave me, they knew that my personal happiness mattered more than all the medals I won, and I should only pursue things that I was passionate about. Through the years, I’ve forged friendships with many fellow athletes who have suffered burnouts and emotional traumas, eventually dropping out of the sport completely.

This issue is very personal to me hence I felt the need to share my take on the importance of parents letting children live their own dreams.

1. You might hinder their progress

No doubt that everyone wants the best for their child, however there is no one method that will lead to definite success. What I feel many parents fail to understand is the overwhelming pressure they consciously/subconsciously put on their child, does not correlate to the level of their performance. In fact, I am almost confident to say that it may hinder their performance.. During my secondary school days, I’ve had friends who I believed were more talented than me but under-perform during important competitions. And I believe very strongly that this was partly caused by their parents’ high expectations.

2. You might kill their passion

I picked up Netball & Bowling in primary school because I loved them both. In those days, even though the DSA program had not yet been implemented, I played among kids who’s parents were constantly cheering on the sidelines or pushing them for additional coaching in desperate hopes to help improve performance. From personal experience, most are completely disconnected from the sport today. Sometimes too much of one thing kills one’s passion for it.

3. You might cause them to burnout

Apart from destroying a child’s passion, a child has his physical limits, and overtraining or having too many activities squeezed into his schedule might take a toll on their bodies. Parents must understand that it is not an easy task to juggle both school and sports and be good at both. Being a kid used to be about being carefree and having nothing to worry about. But with the increasing competitiveness in the field of sports, it is sad to see that some kids are having even more hectic schedules than adults! Working adults have a 9-5 job; but with school, enrichment programs, tuitions and trainings to fulfill, the student’s timetable is stretched to its limit. I know many student athletes who survive on 4 to 6 hours of sleep a day, resulting in haggard looks and tired faces. I’m sure you don’t want your kid to look like she’s 30 before she even turns 20!

4. They might start holding a grudge against you

Sometimes, the constant pressure will inevitably leave an emotional scar on the kid. I’ve got friends who, till this very day, have not gotten over being put through the pressure cooker by their parents. However, this is not discounting the people who do eventually understand the reasons behind their parents’ actions. We know every parents wants the best for their child but sometimes parents need to understand that putting their child under tremendous pressure is not always the key to success.

5. You might be robbing them of their childhood

You had your time to enjoy your childhood, so why not let them enjoy theirs? It’s probably unfair of me to judge, but a parent I had once met at a school event told me that he couldn’t understand why some parents were putting so much pressure on their children. They have their whole lives to be pressurized by work in the future. Some might argue that their kids are still too young to make informed decisions, but as parents, do you consider how your child might feel about these decisions you made for them 10 years down the road? Remember, every action has an equal reaction.

Having said all these, I would like to clarify that there have also been many friends of mine who have shared with me on how supportive their parents have been, and kudos to all of these parents for that. 

Ultimately, the question is whether we can be certain that a child’s drive to become a better athlete stems from his will to pursue his dreams, or the perception that he has to fulfill his parents’ dream for him. Till next time.

About Shayna Ng

Shayna Ng is an International Staff member of Storm Products.  She won the 2012 Qubica AMF World Cup and 2014 Singapore Sportswomen of the Year. Apart from bowling, she is also one of the founders of SportSanity. She hopes to share her experiences and knowledge and wants to do her part to build a strong sporting community in Singapore

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July, 2014