After a month of teaching my daughter how to ride a bike, I’ve decided that when she is old enough to learn how to drive a car I’m going to need to hire a professional. I simply lack the patience and kindness it seems to teach any form of transportation.
When it comes to riding a bike, my 4.5 year-old daughter is afraid of everything. If there is a twig on the sidewalk, she slams on her brakes. If there is a slight turn in the road, she starts crying and saying, “I can’t do it.” She is literally paralyzed with fear. And, yes, there are training wheels on the bike.
When she gets going without any obstacles, slight inclines or declines, twigs, rocks, bugs or slight pieces of grass, you can see she actually enjoys it. However, those instances usually only last about 1 to 2 minutes at any given time.
I have tried every technique. From the caring, soft-spoken words of encouragement to the tough-loving mother who yells, “PEDAL!!!!” I’m at a loss of how to help her get over her fears.
My most recent attempt including her chanting the words, “Yes I Can” every few minutes while pedaling. Of course, that lasted about 3 minutes and then a crack in the sidewalk made her feel as if she was witnessing her last moments of life and she shrieked and jumped off the bike.
I want to raise a daughter who sees a challenge and faces it head on. However, is 4.5 years old too soon for that? I question whether I’m trying to empower a child who isn’t ready to be empowered.
Don’t get me wrong, my girl is brave. She can walk into a room full of children she has never met and she’ll make friends in seconds. However, when it comes to something not in her comfort zone, she shuts down and no amount of support or bargaining seems to help.
So is the solution to stop for awhile and revisit in a few weeks? Or do I keep encouraging her to get back on? I’m confused if that phrase “get back on the bike” is really about bicycles or just life’s obstacles outside of the world of transportation.
Danielle Herzog is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom to two children.
Read her every Wednesday on momaha.
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