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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...

ZZZenagain Tue 15-Oct-13 10:39:39

THat's sad about Vanessa Mae and her relationship to her mother (the link below). Despite all the pushing from her mother, she must have still been exceptionally gifted to have done so well at such a young age. I am shocked that in Britain she had music tutors who slapped her face if she was not good enough.

Bonsoir Tue 15-Oct-13 10:43:13

olguis - I agree wholeheartedly with your post at 10:29. There is something distasteful to some English people about being seen to work hard at school and for teachers to teach, explicitly.

wordfactory Tue 15-Oct-13 10:44:42

olguis your post certainly rings true.

I find the complacancy in the UK quite breathtaking.

The middle classes seem to have very little comprehension of how the world is changing. They think their position in society and the world at large is set in stone!

Parents treat their DC like fragile flowers and protect them from all forms of potential disappointment or failure. Hard graft and boredom are viewed as the enemy, to be avoided at all costs.

Crikey, here on MN you'd think DC will spontaneously combust if they come within sniffing distance of homework, revision, rote learning, selection, competitive sports, music practice...

Now I'm sure there are some DC who are particularly fragile. And their parents know them best. But the majority ought to be seeding the skills of flexibility, robustness, determination and grit. All achieveable within the confines of a happy childhood.

ohnoimnot Tue 15-Oct-13 10:46:44

I see hothousing as teaching children that are not that bright. Really clever children understand the first time and move on, they also research and learn things for themselves.

My DD got into one of the top schools in the country without any preparation whatsoever, my DS didn't, he was/is not right for that type of school and would have struggled the whole time at school.

Im not against helping at home but I am against ruining a not so bright child's childhood in making them be something they're not.

wordfactory Tue 15-Oct-13 10:48:55

Bonsoir people seem to consider that anyhting achieved through graft is not comparable to things achieved through raw talent.

You see posts here all the time stating that the only DC that should go to selective school/get good qualifications/attend top univeristies are those who can manage it easily.

Appearnetly anyone who got there by graft will crash and burn. That grammar schools and top universities are full of young people failing miserably. It's like The Toweing Inferno at Oxbridge apparently...except it's not of course wink.

Bonsoir Tue 15-Oct-13 10:52:12

Hard work is nouveau riche, doncha know? grin

My DSS1, who has excellent French lycée work habits, has quickly made friends with a boy from Hong Kong on the same course as he is and in the same hall of residence. We are deeply relieved glad to know that he has found another grafter from a grafting tradition to keep him company rather than get waylaid by English student drinking culture...

wordfactory Tue 15-Oct-13 10:53:14

ohno I don't think anyone would advocate shoehorning a child with low ability into a highly academic environment.

However, I don't see anyhting superior about a child who got into a selective school without trying, versus a child who had to make some effort.

The later knows what he will have to do and will do it!

wordfactory Tue 15-Oct-13 10:57:44

DD's school is not selective, yet in many ways it's more of a hot house than DS uber academic one.

DD's schol get all the girls, whatever their natural ability, through their exams. The girls have to graft. And they do!

The girls are also expected to take part fully in school life. Sports, music, drama etc. Every single girl will sign up for DofE.

The girls leave knowing how to get to where they want to be!

Bonsoir Tue 15-Oct-13 11:08:59

"Every single girl will sign up for DofE."

<shudder> Yes, I know it suits some. But my nephew, who was on a DofE weekend last weekend, told us that some of the girls had a very hard time of it and needed the boys to help them.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 15-Oct-13 11:19:16

word I completely agree. We found out yesterday evening that DD2 has done sufficiently well in the 11+ to be certain of a place at her preferred school (Dd1's school). Well. Failing any CAF completion cock up by me, alien invasion or similar I suppose. Apparently this morning in the primary school playground there were mutterings about 'hot housing' and also a comment that at least somebody else's child 'has a life'. These people don't actually know anything about DD2, clearly, because if they knew how she spent her time outside school they wouldn't think she had 'no life' (actually they probably would because I suspect their idea of having a life doesn't align with Dd2's ideas).

DD2 works very hard. She isn't lazy, and she likes to learn. There's a difference between taking stuff seriously and hot housing though.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 15-Oct-13 11:21:01

Bonsoir, word - sorry, but I do agree with Bonsoir about the DofE thing. A monumental waste if time IME and mainly useful as a signifier of being posh. And not dyspraxic.

ReallyTired Tue 15-Oct-13 11:26:02

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."

Thomas Edison

The sooner children learn that lesson the better. I don't want my son to aim to be top of the class, but I want him to give of his best. Intelligence is all relative and even Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Issac Newton had to work to achieve sucess. Having a good brain does not automatically led to weatlth and happiness. Lots of people who did badly at school do well in careers if they are prepared to put in the graft later on in life.

However it is much harder to get a good job with poor academic qualifications than with a good education. Extra curricular activies help develop social skills which are important as well.

I think in the UK we over praise our children. I feel a little pissed off when my children get given a sticker for saying "thank you" to the dinner lady or sitting nicely in assembly. Somtimes schools expectations on behaviour are far too low. Praise needs to be given in a meaningful way, for example there is no point in praising a child for being clever. Praising a child for sticking at a task that difficult is benefical. I believe that music lessons give the child the opportunity to see that difficult things can be mastered by blood, sweat and a couple of tears. (In moderation)

In countries like China parents are painfully aware that there is no welfare state. They know that if their children are not sucessful then the entire family will suffer. In the UK we have forgotten what is like to be cold and hungry.

Kenlee Tue 15-Oct-13 11:36:42

Word .....I think evevryone has to graft to get to where they want to be. I think even the most natural raw talented people need to work at it.

I think most kids do revise by themselves and are spurred on by their peers to do better. Its when the parent equation comes in that changes this status quo.

Whereby the life of the child is used to enact the fantasy of the parent . In some of the most extreme cases children are used as status symbols . This is hot housing at tje extreme. It becomes less about the child abd more about the prestige.

pointyfangs Tue 15-Oct-13 11:38:34

What an amazingly sensible thread full of sensible people. smile
By MN standards I hothouse. I make sure my DDs do their homework properly and thoroughly - and yes, if they're slapdash about it I will make them do it again. That has only happened once with each of them so far - lesson learned.

They don't do a lot of out of school stuff because our working hours don't allow it, but now that DD1 is in secondary she does drama, netball, basketball and football, playing for the school. DD2 is interested in athletics and football and will be taking that up when she starts secondary. They both do archery too, but that's weekends and not every weekend (our garden is too small for practice, those arrows are sharp...)

I also still read to them every night, take them to museums and heritage sites during the holidays, we have family meals at the table and talk about culture and current affairs.

However, I don't see that as hothousing. Hothousing to my mind is about two things:
1) Making a child what they are not - i.e. the expectation that everyone can be a world class musician if only they work at it hard enough. Those Chinese 6-year-olds are a case in point; they can play the music well in a mechanical fashion, but they have no understanding of its emotional impact and how to convey that in their playing.
2) Making a child do something for the gratification of the parents, i.e. it isn't about the child's wellbeing at all but about the parent showing off what a wonderful parent they are. IMO that is the most damaging thing a parent can do (other than outright and obvious abuse and neglect).

ReallyTired Tue 15-Oct-13 11:46:26

These young guitarists are amazing.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhetvLOBOOo

"I think most kids do revise by themselves and are spurred on by their peers to do better. Its when the parent equation comes in that changes this status quo. I think most kids do revise by themselves and are spurred on by their peers to do better. Its when the parent equation comes in that changes this status quo. "

Depends where your child goes to school. If your child goes to a school in special measures in a socially deprived area then more parental input is needed. I remember having a conservation with a mother who had bought a house in the catchment area of one of the best comprehensives in the country. She had no need to be pushy as the school did all the necessary pushing.

Bonsoir Tue 15-Oct-13 11:49:43

pointyfangs - "Making a child do something for the gratification of the parents, i.e. it isn't about the child's wellbeing at all but about the parent showing off what a wonderful parent they are. IMO that is the most damaging thing a parent can do (other than outright and obvious abuse and neglect)."

Yes, I agree very strongly with everything you have written. When a child's education is all about the parents, a sort of status symbol for them, rather than developmental opportunities in which the child is a willing participant, it all tends to go wrong later on.

richmal Tue 15-Oct-13 13:36:03

Really clever children understand the first time and move on I have a completely different view of education. I would never expect dd to understand things first time and would not think her not clever if she did not. In fact if I do a new topic I make it clear I'm just telling her about it and don't expect her to understand it yet.
Not everything comes naturally to children, but I does not mean it is beyond them to understand with a bit of teaching.

ReallyTired Tue 15-Oct-13 13:53:04

Really clever children understand the first time and move on

Children have different strengths and weaknesses and no child is good at everything. It is damaging to expect a child to always understand first time as one day they might hit up against something difficult. A child might struggle to learn to ride a bike even if Maths comes to them easily.

I believe that if you praise a child for being sucessful then they may give up and become insecure whe suddenly the are faced with something difficult. Sometimes an activity starts off easy and then the child hits a difficult obsticle. My son got to grade 2 guitar in 18 months, but he has been doing grade 2 standard pieces as he can't manage the jump to grade 3. Progress is often in fits and spurts with children.

wordfactory Tue 15-Oct-13 18:21:59

Russians is DofE really a signifier of being posh these days?

See, I'm slowly breaking the bastards down wink.

To be honest, I don't think it's a huge thing either (and frankly Mr Shankley DD needs another skill and another sport like a whole in the head)... I was just giving it as an example of the girls in DD's school all doing lots of other stuff besides academic work. The idea that they can't work hard and have fun, is such a daft one.

Also, as you say, having fun is very subjective! One of DD's mates is training with the national lacrosse squad. In goal! Now having balls hoofed at me, head height, at speed, aint my idea of fun...but hey ho.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 15-Oct-13 19:18:21

Costs a lot of money to do, dunnit. Lots of money != posh really, as we know, but it certainly signifies not ordinary.Actually, to many people it signifies lots of other things too but I quite appreciate your DD and her friends are being forced to do this - and the person who made that decision doesn't get that he or she might not be helping the kids as much as they thought they were. Although obviously it all depends on what sort of career they want to go into and what sort of life choices they make later.

notagiraffe Tue 15-Oct-13 20:33:14

Wordfactory said: having fun is subjective.

This is true. At primary, DS1 enjoyed piano, but it was always something he treated like another lesson. Now he's really working hard he goes off and plays jazz piano for an hour and comes back rejuvenated. He's realised that relaxing doesn't have to mean endless reruns of Family Guy.

Bonsoir Tue 15-Oct-13 20:34:38

Russians - you make a good point. Whenever schools try to engage their pupils in non-core activities, it is always worth examining closely who the beneficiary is. Some things can be more about the school or a particular teacher than the DC and while I support the idea of being part of a community etc etc it is still worth examining what is really in it for your DC...

Kenlee Wed 16-Oct-13 00:36:11

I think if the child fairly well off hot housing is not really needed. In fact I would be as bold to say it pays to have family friends who are hot housed. Thus giving impetus for your own child to want to compete. My daughter learnt the piano simply because he friend was taking piano. We had 1 lesson a week and she practiced at home to get it right on her own ready for the next lesson. Her friend was taught 1 hour a night. The friend has now gone through several tutors as she is stuck at grade 3. My daughter gave up at grade 5. At the time she had to knuckle down for the academics.

Hot housing does not necessarily mean your child is successful. It just means she is attending and not enjoying. O btw she is really really good at Tennis. She loves Tennis.

I asked her do you like the piano the answer was yes If XXX plays together with me. I hate my teachers though. I introduced my daughters tutor who refused saying the parents had an unrealistic view of what their child can achieve.

Kenlee Wed 16-Oct-13 00:56:01

I also want to reply to reallytired as I think its a worthwhile point. That socially disadvantaged famlies often hot house as they themselves want their children to succeed. I have seen our low earners go without lunch and wear the same clothes so they can afford tutors. They dont hot house but are selective in finding tutors.

Then there are others who don't give two brass farthings. These are the children who really need a mentor.

MrRected Wed 16-Oct-13 01:02:01

I think that a distinction needs to be made between nurturing ability/ encouraging your child (which sometimes means making the hard decision on behalf of your child to keep them on track) and "hot-housing".

Some would say I hot house my son. He is 12, he practices his chosen sport 10 hours a week, plays in his age division, as well as with next division up. He also plays at state level. He knows that we will be attending state championships next April and that his performance will be judged with a view to a slot at the Australian Institute of Sport which is the development path for Olympians.

This is what he wants. Yes - sometimes he doesn't want to get up at 5.30am for training but we make him go. Yes - sometimes we all want a weekend off but we drive miles to get him to a match. We support his dream to play in the Olympics without hesitation. Travel, ensuring his nutrition is top notch and endless hours on the side of a court are not the easy option. Sometimes sheer hard work isn't such a bad thing.

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