Continue Our Skating Journey

While waiting for my kids’ ice skating group lessons, I heard Vietnamese adults gushing over their kids. The father said in English, “You have done so well for the first time.” The mother said in English, “Yes, I am so proud of you.” The grandmother said in Vietnamese, “You were so good.” They took turns and repeated their praise over and over again as they took off the kids’ rental skates.

Is it just me or do Vietnamese parents tend to over compliment their kids? This is not the first time I have heard something like this from Vietnamese parents. Sure, encouragement is good, especially for doing something new for the first time, but do you have to overdo it? It felt like giving kids false hope or toxic positivity. I give my kids compliments too, but I also try not to exaggerate their accomplishments.

I know kids who think they are the best at everything because their parents kept bragging that they are the best. Being competitive is good. It makes the kids work harder to achieve their goal, but when parents make their kids think they are the best, they set them up to fail. They put their kids on the pedestal and their kids can’t reach it. The kids threw tantrums when they lost in a game. When the kids can’t be the best, they just quit.

I rather have my kids keep working to improve their game than just giving up. Then again, what do I know? When I taught my kids how to skate, I just left them on the ice by themselves. I didn’t hold their hands. I didn’t help them get up when they fell. I just showed them how to get on their feet again. Đán didn’t hold on to the wall at all. He just walked like a penguin until he found his balance. Đạo used the wall until he found his groove. Xuân fell a couple of times, but he picked up quickly. I haven’t been able to get Vương into the rink. He isn’t quite ready yet.

After stopping private lessons for Đạo and Xuân, I enrolled them into group lessons again. Private lessons were expensive, but Đạo told me he was not interested in competing. Neither of them wanted to practice. If they don’t practice, they won’t get anywhere. Group lessons are not only cheaper, but they also come with free public sessions for practice. If they don’t use them, I will. Ice skating is still a fun sport for the kids even if they don’t take it seriously. Xuân is taking Beta. Đạo is taking Freestyle 1. I am looking into taking Freestyle 2 at the end of this month. With my knee injury, I haven’t practiced much. I still have a minor pain, but hopefully I will fully recover by then.

As for Đán, he seems to be sticking with ice hockey. He is doing well in class. He has the speed and the skating skills. He needs to work on his hockey skills. He needs to learn to control the puck with his stick. He needs to learn the strategy of the game. Fortunately, hockey is similar to soccer; therefore, I can provide him with some tips such as working with his teammates and passing the puck away from his own goal. We’ll see how he does.