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To be a bit sad that my parents didn't push me more as a child?

(378 Posts)
Cleopatramanuf Thu 25-Apr-19 09:45:14

I've been reflecting on everything lately and feel a bit sad, like I've missed out on things which I could have been really great at and enjoyed.

For example, in primary school, I was very good at athletics. I was always chosen to represent my school at athletics competitions and would often get through to the final against the best other kids in the (very large) county and win. My sports teacher at the time was always telling me and my parents that I have great aptitude and that I should really keep up athletics after leaving primary school. My high school didn't have any athletics and so I asked my parents if I could go to one out of school. They agreed but I was very shy and came home and told them that I enjoyed it but felt shy. Rather than encouraging me to keep going, my mum just said 'oh well, you should quit then, no fun to be doing it on your own'. Now I wish she'd encouraged me to stick at it, I could have done really well!

Another thing, gymnastics as a child. I loved it. My mum stopped taking me because the centre was a bit grimy. I begged her to let me carry on but she just said no after that rather than looking for a different centre for me to go to.

Another example, I went to a cycling velodrome as a kid with a friend's parent and won loads of the races. The instructor came up to my friend's mum specifically to tell her that I showed real possibility and should go back. When she told my mum, my mum just scoffed and said 'bet they say that to all the kids' and left it there. I never got to go back.

A further one, when I was studying for my GCSEs, I told her that I wanted to be either a doctor or a vet. She immediately told me that I wasn't clever enough for that which really demotivated me when revising. I still did very well and in hindsight, with her encouragement, would have had a very good chance of getting into these careers. I am actually pretty bright!

There's so many similar examples and whenever I watch competitions or videos of all these people talking about their life or competing at a high level, I get a twinge of sadness that that maybe could have been me. I feel sad that she didn't push me to develop my talents and encourage me to reach my goals.

Itwouldtakemuchmorethanthis Thu 25-Apr-19 09:49:45

hmm I think lots of people “coulda, shoulda, woulda” but don’t. The ones who make it, make it happen for themselves. How old are you? Surely you can just get on with it and start doing the things that make you feel successful?

Villanellesproudmum Thu 25-Apr-19 09:52:17

The same for me, my parents had little education and no ambition and didn’t support of push me as it wasn’t for the likes of us. I’ve pushed myself though and now encourage my daughter who sounds very much like the younger you, she lacks confidence in herself. Never too late to get those qualifications and learn new sports.

Cleopatramanuf Thu 25-Apr-19 09:53:29

I'm in my twenties now and too old to be successful in athletics or cycling because you have to have done it as a child and teen really.

GreenFingersWouldBeHandy Thu 25-Apr-19 09:56:23

But you can still do it for personal enjoyment?

Feels a little unfair to blame your parents when perhaps you could have pushed yourself a bit more?

claraschu Thu 25-Apr-19 09:56:32

You are not to old to become a doctor, OP. Is that still your ambition? I know people who have studied medicine when they were older than you, and have become amazing and wonderful doctors in their 30s.

juneau Thu 25-Apr-19 09:57:37

If you're only in your twenties now you could still be a doctor or a vet! Many people change careers, retrain, do a second degree or go back as a mature student to do a first one. What's in the past is in the past. Your DM sounds like she couldn't really be bothered, but don't be like her. If you want to change your life - change it. You're still young enough to do so. My cousin did an engineering degree, but found that he didn't really enjoy doing it as a job, so he went back to uni and started over with a medical degree. He's now a doctor.

horseymum Thu 25-Apr-19 09:59:14

It's never too late, loads of people in our triathlon club who were never even sporty as children, some only learning to swim in their forties. You compete in age groups and it's really against yourself. Get out there and get going, find your thing! Park run is a good place to start.

SolitudeAtAltitude Thu 25-Apr-19 09:59:15

I think it is an unproductive way to think, personally.

How old are you now? Time to take control of your own life now!

As a child I played tennis for 3 years, was never all that good, all the attention went to the confident better kids, I dropped out at 13. then never did a sport again. My parents said sport was for un-intellectuals anyway, much better to read books grin

At age 42 I decided to get into tennis again, just for fun. Over the years I started to enjoy it, have more coaching, and last year at the grand old age of 47 started to play competitively. I am now playing league matches twice a month, and love it.

I'll never be at Nationals, I'll never even be an A team player, but I am having fun, getting fitter and getting better at all the time. And that's all I want. I want to be a solid B team player for the club.

At 35 I took up horse-riding, again, easier to learn as a kid, but I enjoy riding, go out for hacks, and love a canter around the school and taking a few jumps.

So, OP, what exactly is stopping you doing all the things you love NOW?

Looking at the past is pointless, look at the here and now and at the future instead

Thatsnotmyotter Thu 25-Apr-19 09:59:37

You definitely aren’t too old to be successful at amateur sports. Particularly women’s cycling. I was watching something about the Irish women’s track cycling team recently (this is very vague because I can’t for the life of me remember what) and one of them had only taken up cycling in the last year or so!

itssoooofluffy Thu 25-Apr-19 10:00:00

How old are you? Plenty of people change careers when they’re adults.
It’s a shame you feel like you didn’t do sports as a child, but no reason you can’t join a running or cycling club as an adult - I know a few people who have taken up sports as an adult and have gone on to compete at a national level. I also know lots of people who competed at national level as children but now don’t do any sports at all as they found the pressure too much and they stopped enjoying it.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 25-Apr-19 10:01:46

Successful people have self motivation. The dont blame others for their own failings and limitations.

LittleAndOften Thu 25-Apr-19 10:02:55

It certainly sounds like you could have been encouraged and given more opportunities. I did have lots of opportunities as a child and was pushed but that became a whole issue in itself. I did so much there was no family time and I felt my worth was wholly based on my achievements, so when I failed at things (I had chronic low self esteem and suffered with anxiety) it was catastrophic. I would rank myself lower than everyone else, even those who'd performed worse than me. This, amongst other things, led to years of depression. I do wonder now if I'd done fewer activities as a kid, my family might have had a better bond. We've never been close and it's taken years of therapy to have a relationship with my mum. I take your point, but the grass isn't always greener. I'm hoping to find more of a happy medium with DS.

Music was one of the things I did as a child, competitions, exams, ensembles etc. I've recently started to do some musical activities again but it's a big struggle to not compare myself unfavourably with everyone else, or just turn into a bag of nerves. Daft, isn't it!

Teddybear45 Thu 25-Apr-19 10:04:28

there is a huge gap between county and national competitions. I’m sure you know this already. If not research. Nearly all kids who do well at national competitions train from really young ages. By the time you’re the age to enter or win a school competition it’s often too late (in terms of age) for you to get to that elite level.

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 25-Apr-19 10:04:50

I'm in my twenties now and too old to be successful in athletics or cycling because you have to have done it as a child and teen really

Doesn't have to be that way. I know someone who broke national records and ran successfully in the Commonwealth Games, who only really seriously started running in her very late teens.

You could also say you didn't push yourself enough. If your parents were pushy parents who took you to all these events and had high educational expectations, would you have wanted that, or would you have thought that they were pushing you too hard and it wasn't what you wanted to do? Training in teen years is very hard, especially as it has to fit around school, so training sessions before and after school most days are required, plus at weekends, it takes over the whole families life.

You could join athletics and cycling clubs and participate in amateur events at an appropriate level. Find a local club and give it a try.

Daffodil2018 Thu 25-Apr-19 10:04:58

For every person who wishes their parents pushed them more, there is another who had pushy parents and hated it. My mother was a concert level pianist at 18 because she was pushed. She now hasn’t played it for more than 30 years and won’t even go near a piano.

My advice would be don’t dwell on it. Just look forwards.

Dishwashersaurous Thu 25-Apr-19 10:06:42

If you were discouraged from doing something that you wanted to do and were good at by a simple comment then you were unlikely to have the resilience to do something at a high level.

Yes your parents could have been more encouraging but ultimately it is up to you to do something.

If you really wanted to do something then you would have found a way to do it

There’s nothing stopping you retraining now. Lots of people retrain in their twenties

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 25-Apr-19 10:07:17

Also a woman local to me won or did very well in the London marathon after only taking up serious running a couple of years before she did very well (sorry cannot remember actual details but she featured in the national papers as it was such an achievement).

MereDintofPandiculation Thu 25-Apr-19 10:07:32

By all means consider your parents' failings, but use it as a way to identify gaps that you need to fill, not as an excuse for your own failings.

You've got 60 years ahead of you, three times the life you've already lived. Bemoaning the things your parents didn't give you just isn't productive or helpful.

Whoops75 Thu 25-Apr-19 10:09:02

Successful people have self motivation. The dont blame others for their own failings and limitations


I used to get occasional pangs about my unfulfilled potential then I had children.
Other children/family life has to be factored into hobbies.

Ratatatouille Thu 25-Apr-19 10:09:02

The ones who make it, make it happen for themselves

Feels a little unfair to blame your parents when perhaps you could have pushed yourself a bit more?

To be a professional athlete or sportsperson takes commitment and intense training from childhood in the vast majority of cases. If you ever hear these people give interviews or accept awards and prizes, they quite often specifically thank their parents as they literally could not have done it without their support. Of course a primary aged child cannot “make it happen”. And how exactly does a child under the age of 11 “push themselves” more when their parent is not allowing them access to the equipment, tuition etc that they need? A 7 year old cant drive herself to the velodrome. And I know not all parents have the resources, but it seems that OP’s did and simply weren’t interested in athletics so weren’t willing to help her pursue it.

I get why you feel bad, OP and I think you’re perfectly justified. But it’s not possible to wind the clock back on the sports/athletics front unfortunately. I’d find a really good local club that take their sport seriously and get stuck in at an amateur level. In terms of the academic and career stuff, if you have the time and financial ability then it’s definitely not too late to retrain as anything.

Cleopatramanuf Thu 25-Apr-19 10:09:14

I am really considering studying medicine and need to find a way of funding it and I used my student loan on my first degree.

I suppose my sadness is more really when it comes to sports and athletics. I know I can do it as a hobby and plan on doing that, but I often watch the commonwealth games or Olympics and dream that it could have been me. I know my chances were probably small anyway but I wish I'd been able to give it a shot.

I think the comments about me lacking motivation as a child are unfair. There was no way I could get myself to gymnastics and pay for it at age 7 by myself with no parental support. Same with the cycling at the velodrome.

Cleopatramanuf Thu 25-Apr-19 10:12:30

And even with the athletics, it is natural for any 11 year old to be a bit put off going to a new athletics club where all the kids are complete strangers to them, even if they love the sport.

MorrisZapp Thu 25-Apr-19 10:13:52

I totally get this. Seventies hippy parenting in our house, my parents just let us do what we wanted and never hassled us to study or think carefully about future choices. 'do what you enjoy' etc.

To my embarrassment I reached adulthood thinking that eg accountants were ghastly boring blood suckers with no imagination.

Then I met a friend of a friend who was bright, funny, creative and who had a fabulous life with loads of great holidays. I was like wow, what does she do? Of course, she's an accountant.

I was really clever but I was never pushed. I sometimes wonder how things might have been if I'd aimed higher. Not complaining really, I had a great childhood and I have a fab job now, but it all seems a bit accidental.

Gentlemanwiththistledownhair Thu 25-Apr-19 10:14:37

Also depends what you mean by successful. Sure, you're probably not going to win gold at the Olympics, but then neither are 99.9% of those who competed in athletics at school. But you could still be a successful club runner for example. It's all about defining your goals and what you see as the definition of success.

You can also still become a vet. I have a friend going back to uni age 30 to study medicine.

Success is a state of mind: you define what it means for you and then you need to work to get there. Stop blaming your parents and pull your finger out, otherwise you'll still be in the same place in twenty years time. You make your life what it is.

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