When I signed on as a Geekdad , I provided Chris with a list of topics. At the top of my list was teaching Ben, my 5 yr old and Colin now- 7 year old, to ride bikes without training wheels. The following fills you in on the story so far, and maybe, just maybe, provides you with some tips on how to get your kids to meet goals that you help them set. (But I doubt it)
Tactic One- Make them do it. (Leaning on pure parental authority)
I’ll spoil the surprise. This one didn’t work. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Take the boys to a really big parking lot with no traffic and work with one boy while the other zooms around on the training wheels. Only the weather cooperated; not too hot, bright and sunny.
To Ben:”OK, I’ll hang on behind while you pedal. It’ll be easy.”
“Well, just try, I’m right here”
“No, I’m scared”
Interlude: We could draw this out a bit more, but let’s just summarize by noting that words were exchanged, tears were shed and bikes were not successfully ridden.
BTW, this was part two of the “Make them do it” tactical maneuver. Total removal of the training wheels coupled with the demand. “You boys are old enough to ride without training wheels, so do it” was such an incredible bust that no more needs to be said.
Tactic Two- Substitute Dad (Bring in a Ringer)
My friend Dan is working with his two boys on the same project. He is succeeding as fantastically as I am. We decided to join forces.
“OK, you help my kids and I’ll help your kids. You won’t get as frustrated with my kids and vice versa.”
It almost worked. Each kid went down the alley at least twice. Then they decided we should go back and play Xbox Lego Star Wars (XLSW). End of effort
Tactic Three – Shame and Peer Pressure
I’m proud to tell you that my boys are nearly completely immune to peer pressure. The three year olds on our block can ride circles around them and they couldn’t care less. Let’s hope that lasts through high school.
Tactic Four – Bribery
I have to let you know that this tactic has been quite successful in the past. Operation “Take a shower, not a Bath” only cost me a buck apiece and they found that the shower wasn’t so scary after all.
Colin was grounded. No Xbox or computer for a week. He had survived six days and I threw him a curve. Understand that Ben was inside playing already and
“Ride your bike up the sidewalk twice and you can play XLSW.”
“Can my feet touch?”
“Will you hold me up?”
“and then I’ll get Xbox back”
“Well, not if I help you”
Colin made some great efforts, and I felt him getting closer to balancing himself. And then he decided he was done, Xbox be danged.
So now, I’m going to go with the nuclear option.
Tactic Five – Patience. . . (They are not getting cars until they can ride a bike)