My partner doesn’t ride, but had always been supportive of me riding. Now that I’m pregnant, he had assumed I’d give up riding to have a family.
But, I want to ride for my own passion and to bring my kids up riding off road. He says he can’t control me, but ‘no’ to the kids learning. I’m heartbroken and don’t know what to do.
Congratulations on your pregnancy, and on wanting to share your passion for riding with your future children. Agreeing on how to bring up a child is a challenge in most cases, and your dilemma highlights how differing approaches can cause potential conflicts. What is also common is that the ideas you each hold about how you will parent may change dramatically once you actually meet your children. Their personalities, their interests, and your reactions to them, can often modify your original plans.
Starting with overall parenting goals may broaden the conversation and help the two of you navigate your way through this issue. What are the most important values you want your kids to have as adults, and how do you each envision helping them get there? How important is it for them to be exposed to each of your passions, and how important is it for you to support them in finding their own, even if it turns out to be something one or the other of you isn’t comfortable with? What if they aren’t remotely curious about any activity you or your partner value? And finally, who gets to have the final say on the big issues, whether schooling, friends, bedtimes or sports?
Have the two of you discussed what his concerns are regarding dirt bikes? Are they specific to riding or are they broader? Are there other sports that would be unacceptable, and if so, why? What if one of your kids decides they want to participate in a different, but equally risky activity such as jumping horses or playing tackle football? This brings up the question of how willing each of you are to live with the idea of your kids getting hurt, failing, and being disappointed. Are there ways to address your partner’s concerns so he becomes comfortable over time with the idea of them riding rather than making a blanket decision before your baby is even born?
You’re both passionate about your views, but being able to listen to each other with an open mind, understanding what’s important to each of you, and working together to find solutions is an important part of being able to co-parent successfully. Starting those conversations now is one way of identifying some of your assumptions, and hopefully clearing many of them up before your baby arrives and tosses his or her personality into the mix!