Schoolwork: when does pushing turn to shoving?

12 Oct
Here is something I really worry about.

What academic – and skills-related – pressure on children is acceptable? How do you ensure they are achieving their potential without being perceived as draconian, unfeeling or – worse, way worse – with them believing that your love is any way conditional on them doing well and hitting certain targets?

After all they are little; at the age of the Ls, really little, and everything therefore is pretty new, takes adjustment, can be tiring, and as part of development they want and need to play imagination games, tear around outside, hang out with parents and friends, learn to chop peppers, walk the dog, watch films, and sometimes have early nights.

So balancing it all out is more than just a balancing act.  Firstly it is an exercise in diplomacy and sensitivity, knowing when to ask the angle of an equilateral triangle as opposed to when to come up with rhymes where the sole objective is to fit in the word ‘poo’ as many times as possible.  Secondly it is finding that fine line between encouraging and forcing, and walking it with the skill of a Grand Canyon tightrope walker.  All so when they look back they can say ‘I did my best, and those around helped me to achieve that and to understand that my best really is good enough, and that everyone should be and is proud of that’.

I see this as a critical parental gift, and if someone else has found that fine line, I would be grateful if they would point it out to me.  Although that said, I think that line’s distance, height and trajectory are as individual as the people trying to walk it.

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