Hot housing your child

(98 Posts)
Kenlee Sun 13-Oct-13 05:52:05

Although, I disagree with it. I really want at the end of the day is it worth it ?

I don't really care if your at an Indie or public. I would love to hear success stories..

I have seen to many burnout so my views are bias...

exexpat Mon 14-Oct-13 00:12:46

Can't share any success stories, I'm afraid, just horror stories.

A good friend of mine at school in the 80s had a very pushy mother. She was hothoused academically, musically and in ballet. She made it to Oxford, but hasn't spoken to her mother in years, and has not had a stellar career.

Another friend was pushed to become a piano prodigy at primary school age; she became selectively mute, until she was allowed to drop the piano. She is now a happy and well-adjusted adult.

Norudeshitrequired Mon 14-Oct-13 07:01:27

I think it's about balance. Helping your child to reach their potential without overloading them and pushing them to always be the best.
I think to not recognise a child's ability in something and nurture it is as bad as pushing them too hard.
Research has shown that Gifted children who are allowed to Coast along at too easy a level fail to thrive when work becomes more challenging and they actually have to make an effort. They get used to things coming easy and don't know how to raise their game to find solutions when things are no longer easy.
However, pushing children too hard and insisting that they must be the best is damaging to a child's self esteem and confidence and will leave them feeling that they can never be good enough.
It's about finding the right balance between helping a child reach their own level of potential without pushing them.

nicename Mon 14-Oct-13 08:43:32

Its all about balance isn't it? A friend was a very good pianist (her mum taught piano) so she was drilled pretty hard, although she is very talented. At 20, with a career up and running, she decided one day to lock the piano. 20 years later she says she might 'tinkle' again. She wasn't unhappy, I think it was more that she hadn't found her own path and hadn't anything else to fall back on. She just didn't know if the piano was 'it'.

Most people think that she is crazy! Talented, a career, etc but she is happy with her decision. No fallout with her family either.

I think there is so much pressure for parents to push - at mini music lessons you hear mums saying that they have to rush to take their small child to mandarin or mini mind gym. I'm sure the teachers are wonderful and make it fun for the children, and its the parents choice, but sometimes you can feel the competitition to push in the room.

Kenlee Mon 14-Oct-13 09:08:21

I like this idea of balance.

If the child can cope with it. Im sure its all good. I just had some happy news my friends son has just taken his grade 8 viloin. In his lucky shirt...He says should pass with distinction. I love him and he loves to play . BTW he is only 9....

What is good ia that he loves to get all the kids to play with him. Yet when they play badly he would teach them. He will never get angry saying music is for fun.

This I hasten to add is not hot housing its just fullfilling his ability to have more fun.

nicename Mon 14-Oct-13 09:11:57

That is wonderful news! Congratulations to him!

antimatter Mon 14-Oct-13 10:33:44

Grade 8 violin at the age of 9
wow
that means he passed grade 8 music theory as well
that is true talent, this child I believe won't crack as it must be his ability what helps
parental support only enables his talent
an average child won't be able to play to that level - hence hot housing would stress such average talented child

also ballet - you are writing about ballet as if everyone was able to progress and achieve high grades in dancing

if you ever danced or played instrument you would know it isn't possible

getting to know what your child's strengths are that is your job, not pushing them where society thinks he should be

DeWe Mon 14-Oct-13 10:52:12

It is difficult to get the mix right for your child, but also hard to tell with other people's children.

I'm sure some people think I've hot housed my dc, because they were all fluent readers by school age and will choose to sit down and do a maths worksheet, and they do quite a few outside clubs.
But the reading, dd1 was keen, so dd2 and ds wanted to read too because big sister was enjoying it. And maths worksheets again they all find fun (I did too!)-it's something they'll ask for as something to do. We use it as a bit of a joke too. If they're messing round when out, I'll tell them they'll have to do some maths when they get home as a punishment. And they all chorus back "oh yes please"-and start putting their orders in as to what they want it to be about. Gets strange looks that one. wink

But I think it's important to do some things that they do for fun and aren't going to be top. The clubs they do because they enjoy. They choose (within reason and practicalities) and stop if it's no longer fun. They're all stickers though, so they don't tend to stop unless they're certain.

And for those who are complaining at the OP for sending her dd to boarding school. I was at schools who had a number of HK children sent over to board. In fact, my best friend in the 6th form was from HK. It was an accepted thing to do, and most of the children enjoyed it-I can think of one who was very homesick, and she was actually living with cousins not boarding.
I would not say that my friend had been hot housed-but she was very keen to do her best, because she wanted to pay her parents back for the sacrifice they had to make to pay the fees. So she did work very hard. People probably thought it was her parents pushing her, but it came from herself.

You didn't need to pity her for coming to board: She had a great way of looking at things:
Her delight at the first time she saw snow.
Her telling me with great excitement that her parents had moved to a really low down flat now. I think it was floor 26!!!
She used to call me by the Chinese for Yellow Hair-"Wong Mo" I think it was. She tried to teach me to write it, but my attempts were terrible.
And her English was mostly brilliant. I remember two mistakes. She once asked me if I stayed in a hospital on holiday. She couldn't stop giggling once I'd got her sorted out on Hotel and Hospital. And she got common and popular mixed up. I remember her asking in a form discussion whether "pneumonia was popular", again she did find this very funny, but she did get them mixed up at different times.

notagiraffe Mon 14-Oct-13 11:21:51

Langlang is a wonderful pianist, but at what cost to his personal happiness and stability? What his parents did was harsh. Perhaps they had very little choice. It was their way for their son to get out from poverty, and he clearly had huge talent. You tube is choc-full of tigered tinies plonking away very efficiently at Grade 8 Bach aged 6. But they have no connection to the music's emotional range. Langlang's playing is very engaged emotionally.

Imho, the best pianist ever is Alfred Brendel. He taught himself from scratch aged 17, because he wanted to. It shows in his expression. No one has ever mastered Beethoven better than him.

I think hot housing is soooo wrong. Long term it doesn't matter if a child has A* A level maths aged 10, because once he's 18, his grades are no more impressive than others who attained the same grades at the expected age, but who also had a childhood. And those who progressed without hot housing - their social skills will be advanced and may lead to them getting better job offers, having better personal relationships and better lives all round, long term.

My DC are encouraged to do their best, but not pushed, and certainly never at the expense of having a life. Their lives are full of films, friends coming over or dropping by, visits to relatives, trashy tv, playing club rugby for fun, you tube etc, and they get good marks. They're not top of the class, but they're near enough that if they want to put their backs into it when exams are near, they'll make the grade.

Then again, some people think tweekly utoring for 11+ is hot housing. I think that's taking cool-housing wink (for want of a better expression) too far. If 1-3 hours per week extra effort from a 10 year old, to ensure they get into a really top academic school is too much, then I think parents are discouraging their children from ever feeling the healthy discomfort of making an effort.

It's a question of balance, isn't it?

OP sounds like you did the right thing. how lovely that the spark is back in her eye. Music, sport, art, specialist study should all be pleasures. Excellence in anything should be led by the child. Lots of kids are driven to overachieve, and that can be supported without being driven by the parents.

notagiraffe Mon 14-Oct-13 11:23:22

tweekly utoring? grin sounds nasty. I meant weekly tutoring

Kenlee Mon 14-Oct-13 12:07:16

Actually after reading many threads on here. I dont really like the 11+ because it forces children to be tutored for the sake of an exam.

Although I have to admit my daughter and I had a good laugh doing the NVR and VR as she was actually better at it than me.

I asked my daughter this weekend if she was happy...The reply was I'm busy because she was going swimming with her friends.

I agree with all the posters on here that making friends and enjoying your childhood is more important than getting really good results. Yet Im fully aware they may need to get a RG uni degree. To get in most jobs. After that its the social skills you learn at school. That gets you promoted up the ladder .

wordfactory Mon 14-Oct-13 13:56:30

OP, I think many people assume (wrongly) that all high achieving DC are hot housed!

Here on MN many posters believe that homework in primaryis hot housing. That all selective schools are hot houses. That extra curricular activities are hot housing.

There is also an assumption (again a wrong one imvho) that all the DC living in these circumstances are being forced into it by their parents and are unhappy.

But I look around me and see lots of high achieving well balanced kids who, frankly, still seem to have enough time to watch endless episodes of The Big Bang Theory, fiddle on their phones and eat lots of crisps!!!

And yes lots of success stories, by which I mean DC who have had a happy childhood and achieved highly.

rabbitstew Mon 14-Oct-13 14:08:33

I hothoused myself. grin

Kenlee Mon 14-Oct-13 14:17:15

I agree word..some families are lucky and have children that are capable. They can deal with advanced academia. In fact most dont need to be hot housed because they do it naturally.

I have always said let them take an intrest and they will hot house themselves.

I just disagree with hot housing if the child does not have that ability. I know my daughter may not get 10 A* but she will get somewhere close. Thats good enough to get her into A levels of her choice . Therefore being ccompetitive herself she will do as well as she can. Then get into a good Uni hopefully. I do hope by the time she graduates she would uave made good friends and has enjoyed life.

If your clever there is no such thing as being hot housed.Its when your forced to over acheive day in day out at the expense enjoyment thats hot housing.

wordfactory Mon 14-Oct-13 14:34:30

How does it work in HK Kenlee?

If everyone expects their DC to come top, then the overwhelming majority must be disappointed?

Or does the competition to be top fuel an endless improvement?

ohnoimnot Mon 14-Oct-13 14:59:10

If you want to do anything to a very high standard you will have to sacrifice something.

Personally I think children should enjoy their childhood and by doing a lot of one particular thing ie academic work wont round them or make them interesting or a team player later in life.

Having just looked round lots of different schools the most academic schools stood out as having the most dullest, boring children I have ever come across.

78bunion Mon 14-Oct-13 15:14:48

(Anit - on grade 8 at 8 you mean grade 5 theory is needed, not 8. You only need 5 to do the higher grades and indeed some easier exam boards do not require theory).

Kenlee Mon 14-Oct-13 16:28:06

hmm....most kids are tutored to get 100%. So Yes I suppose academically they are doing well. Although if you ask them two weeks afterwards they don't have a clue. Most are tutored to exams rather than understanding.

If that is what you call improvement then I suppose it works.

The only trouble with this over tutored society is that schools starts looking at extra curriculum activity to separate the children. So most schools expect a musical talent( piano playing is not an option all kids play the piano), an art and a sport. So on top of academia tutoring. Kids are also expected to be coached to come top in these too...

This is now common place . So the schools have introduced interviews for the children. Its so sad because kinder gardens are starting to interview the kids...So children are now interviewed coached too..

Well I suppose that is improvement.

but as other posters say at what cost..??

CanucksoontobeinLondon Mon 14-Oct-13 17:31:50

Yikes, Kenlee! Sounds like your DD is well out of that system.

TheAngryCheeseCracker Mon 14-Oct-13 18:07:09

Oh, this is the sort of thread I love MN for.

Canuck, I admire your openness, and Kenlee and others make some good points.

I am trying to find the right balance myself.

DS1 does not respond well to pressure, stress and competition. DS2 gets spurred on by it and loves being pushed and pushes himself.

All kids are different and I think it is very important to allow them to be who they are and encourage them, especially in the things they love and have aptitude for.

notagiraffe Mon 14-Oct-13 19:17:24

grin grin rabbitstew

Mumzy Mon 14-Oct-13 19:26:58
78bunion Mon 14-Oct-13 20:38:03

You have to do what feels right to you and by that individual child. We tried to help at home, listened to them reading a few flashcards as babies etc; they got into top 10 schools. They have pretty happy balanced lives and quite high incomes in their 20s, not quite £100k a year but getting there.

If children are 70% or 50% genes and the rest environment depends on two things - parental IQ of course but also the support at home.

So not a huge amount of pressure on ours compared to the worst of their hot housed peers who mostly have Asian or Chinese parents yet ours come good because of that intellectual environment at home, probably a natural intelligence and the English laid back approach which is quite successful for encouraging original thinking and ideas.

Kenlee Tue 15-Oct-13 00:52:30

I hope people will not think that I am agaisnt tutoring. Im pro tutoring especially if a parent does not posses that skill set of understanding or is unable to teach their child for whatever reason.

I do not like tutoring to pass papers and rote learning the answers.

I think tutors should have a responsibility to engage the student so that they want to learn. My daughter hated Chinese as its rote learning. Until we found the one that worked for her. So not all tutors are bad.

I think all children need to be encouraged to reach their full potential. I just think we have to becareful that we don't push to hard to get results that will mean nothing after they have gone to university.

TheAngryCheeseCracker Tue 15-Oct-13 07:31:54

78bunion, you sound JUST like Xenia

olguis Tue 15-Oct-13 10:29:55

A view from outside: from a foreigner

There is (vast simplification) a tradition in Britain where hard work and professionalism (also intellectualism) in themselves are somewhat derided, because true "high class" didn't have to work. So best is to be amateurs and not take anything too seriously. You can say this gets translated to children's education.

I've lived in a number of countries in the EU and I've never encountered such a bizarre mix of ideas that I see, basically, as total confusion. To achieve anything, one needs to put work into it.

Yet, here, putting work into something equates with putting pressure. Then, no work put in -> little outcome = low achievers. That's another thing I've never understood. You first don't teach children and don't have them practice the skill; deride those that do it (hothousing), and then if they haven't mastered it, - oops, low achievers!

Every child would find some areas of study easy and some more difficult. It just means they need to put a regular amount of work into it and gradually become better. What they can and can't do easily at the age of 7 has little to do with the potential and what kind of talents they might discover they have when they are 14-16 (with exception of some things, when you need to start young to be able to discover antyhing later on).

I think if there was a systematic education, which I am yet to encounter, when, e.g. children are introduced to a column calculation method, and have it practiced for a few days (and not just one hour) until some proportion of them get it and then move on and have it being practiced here and there, there would be much less talk and frustration about hothousing.

I teach my son instead of the school, and for others, I am sure, I appear as hothousing. But this word means nothing, I just give him education that his school doesn't.

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