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Jen

What Makes A Seven Year Old Boy Very, Very Happy?

Posted by Jen on May 20, 2009 at 7:00 AM in JenRaising Boys
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carter and dave.jpg

Deciding to do something he's always wanted to do all by himself. That's it. And this spring that thing--at least for Carter--is learning how to ride a bike.

Now, I know many of you sisters out there have kids who've been bike riding since they were four. And there are some of you out there (cough cough Kristen) who have two year olds who can bike that trike forwards and backwards, downstairs and across the yard in the blink of an eye. But I swear all of your early bird bike riders have nothing on the bliss of a very scared seven year old who finally decided he had the courage to try to learn to ride his bike, practically by himself, one bright Saturday morning.

For the last couple years Carter has been happy to stand on the sidelines while the neighborhood kids tackled various childhood tasks with happiness and abandon. All the coaxing in the world couldn't convince Carter it was worth the risk to try anything new--an after school club, a green bean, a swimming class. And don't even think about insisting or laying down the law. If there was ever a kid to come completely unglued in the face of parental pressure, it's Carter.

But almost overnight it seemed, something changed. Maybe it was being seven and a half--those half year marks always seem to note big changes in both my kids--but Carter started talking about being sad that he was always missing out. He wanted to do stuff. He didn't want to be afraid anymore.

I spent more than a few crazy nights with Carter on my little kid-sized therapy couch, trying to help him get his confidence up, listening for signs that he was ready to take the leap.

Then one night at bedtime he announced he had two goals. One, learn how to ride his bike. And two, learn how to swim. After a few tentative tries, he was figuring out how to balance. Within a week he was flying across the parking lot. I've never seen him happier. Now with this new skill under his belt, he's warming up to what it will take to learn how to swim--actual swim lessons--though he reports the thought is still horrifying.

I'm still not sure if I did the right thing to let Carter decide it was time--at almost eight--to learn how to ride his bike, but this one thing is certain: there's a particular happiness that comes with deciding it's time to do something on your own, without any pressure, without anyone else deciding how you should learn and when. Carter may be a little bit late to the bike riding scene, at least for this neighborhood, but his joy in choosing his own timing is all his own and something about that is making us both very, very happy.

Read more about what to expect from your seven year old.

10 Comments

GailNHB writes...

Jen, I love, love, love that you let Carter learn to ride a bike on his own. What confidence he will have in listening to his own intuition. Yeah for him!!!

The challenge for me came with my daughter. I had to let go of teaching her the colors when she was little. I wanted her to know them so badly. I wanted to figure out tricks to help her remember them. All the other kids her age already knew. Then one day it hit me: the colors will never change. So she can learn them whenever she wants to, whenever she is ready. All this forcing just makes her guess and doesn't help her at all.

In the end, she figured them out exactly when it was right for her. And now, of course, she has the best sense of color and style and the best artistic eye of anyone in our family. She makes cards and jewelry and picture frames and takes pictures and has a fabulous eye for all of it.

These kids are so smart - and so great at teaching us, their parents, so very much.

nicole writes...

What a lovely story!

laura writes...

honey - no shame...my daughter is 9 and the training wheels are still on...she has no need or desire for them to come off. i'm ok with this, for whatever reason....

hugs,
laura

Allen Shatzer writes...

Jen - congratulations to Carter! He's an early rider compared to my son and daughter; My son finally mastered the balancing act last year at age 11 (yes, 11); my daughter this year at age 9. She didn't get it until she had to practice on her own while I was doing some lawn work. For them it was space to ride; we live in the country and cars fly by on our two lane country road. The driveway isn't that long and it gets boring riding back and forth on a 100 foot long driveway.

Steve writes...

What Makes A Seven Year Old Boy Very, Very Happy?
Ultimately, it is a parent who really, really understands him... few parents have the patience, he is very lucky!!

Gajendra Pal writes...

My son is seven year old. He is very intersested in seeing cartoon and become irritate when we switch off the TV. He always irritate when his mother rub the wrong spell words from his writing. He is active but not study with attention. How may improve it

Vinnie Baggadonato writes...

Carter sounds like half a fag. Tell that mezza finnocio to cowboy up.

Carol writes...

Vinnie Baggadonato, why are you even on this site? Have you no where else to go to spread your toxicity? Shouldn't you be somewhere watching Goodfellas?

Bless you, Carter!! And good for you, Carter's mom for allowing him to be free!!! He's a lucky boy!

Patrizia Marziali writes...

Jen, Carter's fortunate to have a mom like you. Good job on helping him get there.

My son is 7 and a half and I first have to say how that picture looks like him. This is so weird... I still have a hard time telling the difference when looking at it!!

He also wasn’t going to learn how to ride a bike until he decided it was time - which was at the end of last summer. When it was time, it was just a couple days until he was on it, and he wanted to do it all the time.
Now he really wants a bigger bike and be able to ride with his dad.


Patrizia Marziali writes...

Jen, Carter's fortunate to have a mom like you. Good job on helping him get there.

My son is 7 and a half and I first have to say how that picture looks like him. This is so weird... I still have a hard time telling the difference when looking at it!!

He also wasn’t going to learn how to ride a bike until he decided it was time - which was at the end of last summer. When it was time, it was just a couple days until he was on it, and he wanted to do it all the time.
Now he really wants a bigger bike and be able to ride with his dad.


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