Part of the exciting journey of parenthood is discovering what interests and talents your child has. It can mean having passion outside academics and your role is to nurture this potential. Take it from Marianne Rehn, mum of equestrian Annabelle Rehn who, at a young age, has proven that success knows no age and that kids can also create an impact.
Annabelle, 14, has been riding professionally since seven and has won awards in the local and international equestrian scene. Growing up, Annabelle shared how her mum has underscored the value of perseverance and self-discipline. “She never fails to remind me that sports is not just about winning, it’s about overcoming failures and learning from them,” she said.
Aside from her athletic achievements, she’s also a budding entrepreneur. She has been looking into technologies to reduce injury-related drowning deaths among children. “I just want to make a difference—to help in making other people’s lives better, in my own little ways,” she said.
Curious about how Annabelle’s mum helped her become the champion she is now? Here are winning tips for supportive parents like you:
#1 Share your own passion—without pressuring them to follow suit
Marianne emphasised the importance of inculcating values and skills to your child. Having been an equestrian herself, she not only wanted to let her daughter experience the joy of riding. More than that, she wanted to impart all the competencies and attributes the sport has taught her without imposing too much.
“Fortunately, it was a love-at-first-ride kind of thing. At two, she was happily trotting and cantering already. She felt very passionate about riding, so it has been very easy to develop her talent,” she said.
#2 Never compromise your child’s safety
This sport can be quite dangerous. “I had to be very cautious about her safety when she’s riding,” Marianne shared. But despite precautions, injuries can’t be entirely avoided. With these come lessons learned and the strengthening of her child’s resilience. Keep in mind, however, that succeeding doesn’t mean putting your child in harm’s way.
#3 Look beyond academics
For Marianne, it wouldn’t have mattered if Annabelle chose to be an equestrian or not. What matters to her is seeing her child get motivated by a passion beyond academics and to support her just the same. “I know that even if she didn’t choose this path, I’d still give her the same encouragement and do my best to guide her in reaching her personal goals.”
#4 Ensure there is balance
With a busy child like Annabelle who has multiple interests outside school, keeping the balance is easier said than done. “She wakes up early, she trains with the horses and does other workouts too. In between trainings, she has school and then spend a few more hours of studying at night, usually after dinner,” said Marianne. The key is to be disciplined and focused on things that matter to your child the most.
Communication is also vital, especially as Annabelle is in her teenage years. “I make sure that we get to talk about her feelings, her happiness, her dreams and anything she wants to talk to me about,” Marianne said.
She further shares the following habits that have guided them:
- Eat right and stay hydrated.
- Keep a schedule so you can set aside time to delve into the different interests and hobbies your kids have. This way, they can extract the best skills from each activity.
- Adhere to bedtime rules. Getting enough sleep is absolutely essential for an active body.
#5 There is no right formula to getting it right
Even with the Annabelle’s success, Marianne admits she has experienced trial and error in her parenting. What a parent can do is to always be a good role model to their kids, she advised. Start at home. “Their values and goals are shaped at home and as parents, it’s crucial that we set good examples.”
Equally important is providing encouragement and support in the interests they want to pursue. Show up and be your child’s best fan!