My parents will agree that being able to motivate your kids so they would excel in school is certainly something to be proud of. After all, an early start can do a lot to increase a child’s chances of being admitted in a big school and having the necessary skills needed to cope with a bigger academic workload. However, there’s a fine line between encouraging your child to excel and pressuring him to be at the top of his class. The trick is in finding the right balance of encouragement and support, knowing the tell-tale signs that you’re pushing your child too far, and undoing and unlearning your pushy attitude towards learning.
Pushy parenting: The tell-tale signs Teacher Jamie Ilao, a junior and senior kinder teacher at KIDS Academy, gives six signs that parents might be pushing their kids a little too far. “There are some things you need to ask yourself to determine if you might be putting undue pressure on your child when it comes to learning,” says Ilao.
1. Do you expect your child to fulfill some of your failed dreams or to continue the legacy of your success? 2. When something upsets you, do you find yourself projecting your own frustrations on your child? 3. Do you have the tendency to compare your child’s skills and class standing with other children? 4. Which is more important to you, garnering awards and getting the highest grades in school or the fun and enjoyment that comes with learning? 5. Does your child display signs of stress (physical, emotional, and psychological) whenever you talk about school? 6. Do you, as a parent, experience any form of stress when it comes to your child’s schooling?
“If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it might be time for you to take a step back and reassess your attitude towards learning and the learning atmosphere you’ve established at home,” explains Ilao. “Parents must remember that how children cope with work later on in their lives is greatly influenced by their childhood activities.” If fun seems to be absent in the school agenda at home, it’s time to come up with a whole new approach - one that won’t have your child stressing out over school.
Yearn to learn For Ilao, the first step is to know and accept your child’s limitations when it comes to education. “While it is good to push your child with the intention of allowing him to reach his highest potential, you should also remember that he is not a machine,” explains Ilao. “Providing him with a supportive environment and the assurance that you will love and accept him regardless of how he performs helps your child develop a more positive attitude towards learning. He becomes more motivated to learn and obtains a happier outlook in doing his activities when he feels that his parents share the same enthusiasm as he does.”