Pushing Too Hard?

KidsAll the pressure for kids to succeed now must be really rough.  I suspect parents don’t know the toll their children pay for the pressure to “do their best” and “achieve.”  Remembering the relief of playing after school, homework and chores, I would have hated knowing I had to face more pressure in dance class, athletics, and tutoring.  As clumsy as I was, it would have been more stressful than school.

Will high-achievers have happier and more successful lives?  Are their lives ruined forever if they don’t get into an Ivy-League Schools?  The world is full of wonderful truck-drivers, grocery store clerks, hairdressers, and brick-layers. We can’t get by without them. Everybody doesn’t need to CEO of a Fortune Five Hundred or Nobel Prize Winner. Any job that contributes to society is honorable, worthy of respect. We need to help our children develop as healthy, moral, people of values rather extensions of ourselves or shining examples of what we wish we’d done.  If your kid is capable of making A’s if he or she works all the time, give them a break.  Let them play a little and make some B’s.  There’s a lot to be learned about values in playing.  It’s not all about you.  Everybody doesn’t want to be a star!  They need our guidance and support, not impossible demands at the cost of their soul.

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26 thoughts on “Pushing Too Hard?

  1. I really can’t agree enough. Of course we want them to be successful. We don’t want them to be so goal and monetarily driven that they can’t enjoy their lives! So much wisdom in this post, I have to share it!

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  2. Hmm, I used to work with healthy volunteers doing psychological experiments, many were undergrads from Cambridge (prestigious UK university) and many were, sadly, so pressurised and so hard on themselves they were near breakdown.

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  3. I totally agree with you on this topic… I have two kids who are totally different academically… My son, not so much, my daughter, more academic. They get so much homework, and Lil Princess is only 7, Lil Man is only 9. Where’s the learning through play, or family time when we have to push them to finish work at home, after a long day at school? I finished my teaching degree in 1997, and came away from it’s, disillusioned. I had wanted to teach since I was 7, and suddenly, school wasn’t about teaching children, it was about number crunching, red tape, paperwork, which was taking precious time of the teacher’s away from actually teaching the kids. Here in the UK the expectations for children at very young ages are often ridiculous… Then you get the after school activities… My two love karate, and Lil Man plays football. These are things they like, their choices, but I refuse to tutor, or get them tutored… Let a kid achieve what they are able!

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      • One of my old employers showed us a clip of some motivational speaker.. Forgive me, I forget who he was, but he discussed this in great detail, about having different ways to learn and record results and work for kids, not all are writers or academic, there was a story about a little girl who never sat down, wouldn’t do her work. Her parents took her to a psychologist and after speaking with her, and observing her, he took the parents to an observation room, and took the girl to a room attached with a two way mirror. He left her there with books, pencils and paper, and switched on music, told her he was going to chat to her parents, and left her there. She didn’t know she was being watched.
        The parents and psychologist watched her, and the parents were apologetic, almost horrified that she was not touching the paper and pencils, instead choosing to dance around. The psychologist told them she was expressing her creativity in a way she understood, not necessarily the way they had expected.
        Many years later, thus same girl was a huge success… As a ballerina, and she even set her own ballet school up, earning her recognition and financial security.
        Some kids are ‘dancers’ … Let them be! My boy is most definitely a ‘dancer’!

        Lordy! Sorry to waffle on!!! 😁

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  4. That’s a wonderful empathetic post, Linda. I am glad you wrote about this topic since the pressure on our kids is increasing. I see the difference between when I went to school and my kids. It is crazy!

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  5. Scholastic expectation these days is insane. I know that we are preparing our kids for success in a world that is vastly different from the one we grew into, but the pressure on my Kindergarten age son is high. Over spring break, he was expected to log in to his online reader. Way back when I was in Kindergarten, it was all about naps and cookies. I hope he is not missing out on too many of the things that make childhood special.

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