How much should we push our children?
I mean pushing them to study but you guessed that… right?
This must be a reoccurring question in the minds of parents. A question to which we do not have the answer, that’s because an actual answer probably doesn’t even exists!
With the exam period looming over our heads (well our children’s heads), I often wonder if I am doing enough to support them. I’ve always been one of those parents whose said “if they want to study, they’ll study!”and I think I believed myself when these words came out of my mouth. But now, with my kids in secondary education I’m debating whether I need to give them that extra push.
I remember my time in school and the whole education system seemed a lot more relaxed. Or is that just how I perceived it? I recall not being too bothered with my GCSE’s because it was merely a starting point, as long as I got goodish grades I knew I could get onto most college courses. Again, was this because I wasn’t career focused?
But with my parent head on, my thoughts have changed. I’m telling my boys to aim high – telling them that if they want a good career, they have to start focusing now. Is this too much pressure at such a young age? Their journey has just started, they have their whole lives ahead of them to work out what they want to do with it.But if we don’t push them now, will that laid back moral stay with them throughout their life?
It really is a dilemma, do I push them or don’t I?
Does it depend on the child, or is it one rule for all? My sons have so much potential, and I’m not saying that because I’m biased (although I probably am)! They’ve always been in top sets at school and this has come without extra support, they’ve done it for themselves. So if they’ve done so well for themselves already, should I be backing off and letting them get on with it? Or should I get them extra tutoring to push them even further???
So many questions. So many options? What’s right? What’s wrong? Forget pressure on the kids, I’m getting stressed out just writing this!
I was extremely shocked the other day (and secretly pleased) when my eldest son came to me and asked if I could get him a maths tutor! When I asked him why he felt he needed it, he replied “my friends get tutored and are doing better than me”. So this brings me onto another point – Does a child’s circle of friends motivate them to better themselves? I believe it’s a MASSIVE contributing factor! Children want to be better than their friends, they want to be looked up to by their peers. So if they’ve got high achieving friends then chances are they’ll do well themselves.
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to tell my kids they must do their homework, I’m merely going to remind them that it’s likely they have homework to do. The indirect approach – it works! Then I’m going to ask them how they got on with their termly exams, and I’ll praise them even if they achieve a grade below what I was expecting of them. I’m going to support them without pushing them but by just giving them a gentle nudge. After all, it’s their life and they must make their own choices and learn form their own mistakes.
I don’t know if this approach will work. But I do know that kids don’t like to be constantly told what to do.
I would love to know your views on the situation. Do you think children should be pushed or left to their own devices? Like I said before there’s no correct answer for this situation, no guidelines to follow. So we make them up as we go along and hope for the best…
Thanks for reading.
Suki… (A Baffled Mum) X