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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Training Wheels

Training Wheels
A cranky semi-opinion, semi question for
CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY
The following semi-opinion, semi-question, is the semi-opinion, semi-question of a cranky old man.  Opposing semi-opinion, semi-questions are welcome, but as always, please, no name calling and that means you, you big stupid-head!
On our recent cruise to Alaska, we were seated for dinner with an older couple…yes, even older than I, and they were bragging on their grandchildren.  This couple was two Brainiac, “Theoretical Mathematicians” graduating from MIT and Columbia respectively.  They were very nice, but had no discernible sense of humor.
I made a comment that all math, even addition and subtraction was theoretical to me.  They mulled that over for a while as if it made any sense other than a weak attempt at a laugh.  Like I said, no discernible sense of humor. 
Still they were nice enough as they bragged about their grandson who was published at age 8 and played first tuba in the school band.  The granddaughter was a doctor, who interned at just a few months under Doogie Howser’s TV record.
After an hour of grandchild bragging, I mentioned casually,
“My grandson was riding a two-wheeler at three!” (Three years and 360 days, but technically correct.) 
I thought this comment in juxtaposition of their genius grand's was funny.  The response,
“Oh, without training wheels; isn’t that dangerous?”
I almost responded, “The guy who invented the A-bomb was doing theoretical mathematics at the age of five…how dangerous is that?” I did not, I do have a filter.
Anyway, walking the boardwalk today, on the Jersey Shore, I saw dozens of kids at least five-years-old riding with training wheels.  Future theoretical mathematicians no doubt. 
Here is the thing; regardless of what anyone may think, training wheels do not work, have never worked, and will never work.  They merely turn a bicycle into a clumsy tricycle to use until a child gets the courage to test centrifugal force.  Personally, I think it is best to skip the training wheels and when children are big enough to touch the ground with their feet while sitting; run alongside, give them a push and yell, “Keep peddling Honey!”
Training wheels are for parents, because we are afraid to let children fall.  They will still fall someday, but training wheels delay the inevitable and make us feel safer.
Children used to leave the home within a year of graduating High School or College.  These days they stay around for much longer.  They even stay on their parent’s health plan until they are 26, I guess the new age of unofficial emancipation.
Is this new age good or bad?  Does it just make us feel safer but hold back the child?
Are there training wheels to becoming an adult? 
At what age should we just give them a push and yell, “Keep peddling Honey!”
The preceding semi-opinion, semi-question was that of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

21 comments:

  1. I learned to ride a bike without training wheels when I was 8 years old. Son had a bike at 3 years old with training wheels. When he got more secure with it, we adjusted the wheels so they were barely offering any "training" and soon after took them off and he was proficient with riding a bike. It did take him 3 times though to move out and stay out (came back on 2 prior occasions). I might admit (or not) that we occasionally (more often) assist him with this or that. Maybe it was better for him to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Maybe he would have been more self reliant. Now it is his turn to make that call for his son on training wheels or not (based on his parenting skills compared to my parenting skills, I'm thinking he'll opt for not the training wheels. I helicopter a bit more than he does). (lot more)

    betty

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  2. We managed before training wheels were thought of. A few tumbles on the way but we got there with sheer determination.

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  3. Training wheels have their place, but shouldn't be relied upon. I remember telling my kids they were there to stop the bike from tipping over. If they felt the bike tipping they should put their foot down to the ground right away. Once they consistently remembered that, the trainers were removed and the kids were fine. All four of them before age five. They still had an occasional spill, but they learned to be careful.

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  4. I had training wheels on my bike, but I didn't really learn to ride that way. It was my father running along side me after he took them off and then letting go that gave me the confidence that I could do it.

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  5. My brothers and I came before training wheels. We even came before those miniature half sized bikes. Regulation Schwinns for us. My sister is 11 years younger than I. My parents bought her a half sized bike. My brothers removed the training wheels and taught her to ride it.

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  6. Give them thm the push and the encouraging words but let them know if the handlebars fall off your're still there for them.

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  7. Very good point Joe, at what age do we kick them out of the nest, remove the training wheels, and tell them to keep pedalling, I guess that all depends on the kid but on some the longer we provide the longer they will stay at home, we had one of ours that was moving out right after graduation but another that would still be here if Momma was still holding on, a lot depends on the makeup of the individual I believe.

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  8. It's been so long since I met an adult that it's difficult to answer your question.
    No training wheels for our daughter, just lots of padding.

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  9. The way some people drive, their cars should have training wheels!!

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  10. I often ponder why the current generation has had a failure to lift off. And why is my generation the one who can't let go?

    No answers!

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  11. I agree...training wheels just get in the way. It's more a mental thing than anything else. Like you said, run alongside until they get up some speed, then slowly back off. They won't even know you're not there until later. Then they'll realize they did it all by themselves, then they're over the psychological hump. I can't imagine a young person WANTING to move back in with the parents. I think it's more financial than anything else. Fortunately, my daughters got their degrees and went out on their own...no returning home. :)

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  12. Training wheels weren't thought of when I learned. I had no problem getting going, it was that darn stopping without crashing that flummoxed me at first.
    Kids do stay at home a long time these days don't they?

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  13. I must have been 10 or 11 and I was shooed out of the kitchen at a friend's. I was afraid, but I got on her big brother's bike. Naturally I crashed, but it made me want to become better at it.

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  14. This reminds me that I have a good friend and all three of his grown sons have moved back home, one with a child he fathered from a stripper. My friend is putting off retirement because he needs the money to pay for all these mouths. I'd never let my kids come home to live permanently. It isn't fair to them because, as you've implied, it keeps them children.

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  15. Bigger Girl had some learning troubles and a horrible sense of balance. When she decided she was ready to ride a bike, she took a two wheeler without training wheels to the top of the hill on our property (small hill) and rode down, crashing into the tree (small tree) at the bottom to stop herself. She did that over and over until she got the hang of balance and riding and rode off without looking back.

    Kids need to be challenged and allowed to learn to overcome the challenges.

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  16. I couldn't wait to get away from home. But things have changed. Since we've never had children I probably don't have a point of reference but I do tend to agree that allowing children to remain home too long seems almost like enabling someone with a bad habit continue down the wrong path.

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  17. My youngest son is 19 now, and before he went away to college last year, we made him ride his bicycle around the yard. Because we weren't sure he could do it. Last time I remember him riding, he was probably 8 years old, leaning at an angle, relying on one of the training wheels! Let the record show that although he proved he could ride it, he did NOT take his bicycle to college.

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  18. Good post. I agree. Whether I follow through when my kids are 18 and technically emancipated we shall see. Tough to watch your children stumble and fall but they are good lessons that just make them grow, hopefully stronger.

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  19. Training wheels are useless. We bought pedal-less bikes for our grandson and grand-nephew when they were two years old. They learn balance and are usually riding a regular bike by the time they are four. Awesome little bikes!

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  20. My kids always said they were going to stay home and live with me forever. They didn't of course and sometimes - a lot of times - I wish they had..

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  21. I'd rather have children staying on their parents' health insurance than not have insurance at all and - in case of a serious health issue or accident - be a burden to the taxpayers.

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