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To cut and past this anti-competitive parenting post that somone posted on faceache

(122 Posts)
LEMisdisappointed Thu 12-Sep-13 20:06:01

Written by a Pre-School Teacher – It says it all!
I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked.

Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only three. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.

It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our pre-schoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.

So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.
She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
-He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. -He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
-He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
-She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvellous.
-She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.

But more important, here’s what parents need to know.
-That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
-That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
-That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
-That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like lego and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
-That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay!

Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US. They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

SubliminalMassaging Thu 12-Sep-13 20:13:02

Ah, that's lovely and I agree with it all. On that basis my kids should all turn out perfect. grin

Slippydippysoap Thu 12-Sep-13 20:14:33

Just saw this and loved it!

SeaSickSal Thu 12-Sep-13 20:16:54

Normal trite facebook bilge.

CosmicForce Thu 12-Sep-13 20:17:58

I love it.

stifflegs Thu 12-Sep-13 20:18:25

I think this may be the best thing I've read on here

AdmiralData Thu 12-Sep-13 20:19:35

Very true. Very nice.

Phineyj Thu 12-Sep-13 20:22:05

Good musical instruments are not cheap nor are they often found in charity shops!

Fakebook Thu 12-Sep-13 20:25:29

Cheesy or what.

CosmicForce Thu 12-Sep-13 20:26:44

It says 'real' rather than 'good' Phineyj. I've bought second hand instruments for very little.

wigglesrock Thu 12-Sep-13 20:30:06

To be honest I think the FB cut and paste is the one of the most self satisfied pile of shite I've read in quite a long time.

And it is also competitive parenting "oh look at my child and their collection of ethically sourced traditional musical instruments"

PenelopePipPop Thu 12-Sep-13 20:31:24

I have a hard time taking advice from people who think musical instruments can be divided into 'real' ones and 'multicultural' ones hmm.

But yeah competitive parenting is wearying, whether we compete over how much our kids know, or how much our kids play or how much they are just allowed to be themselves, or how relaxed we are, or how well-balanced we are, or how much time we devote to them, or any other pointless variable that takes no account of the fact that our circumstances and our children fucking vary

PenelopePipPop Thu 12-Sep-13 20:31:55

X-post wigglesrock

teatimesthree Thu 12-Sep-13 20:35:12

Smug and competitive in its own way. Massively guilt inducing for parents who may not have the time and energy to energy to let their children make a massive mess while they get the dinner.

jamdonut Thu 12-Sep-13 20:35:19

Wow. That makes me feel good. I think I've managed to do most of those things with my kids ,one way or another. Especially the books, They are 13,16 and 21 now, but the one thing we ALWAYS did ,from very small, was sit and read piles and piles of books,snuggled up on the sofa together. If there's one thing I miss, it is

PacificDogwood Thu 12-Sep-13 20:35:50

I totally agree with the sentiment.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 12-Sep-13 20:36:49

teatime - i actually agree with you!

PacificDogwood Thu 12-Sep-13 20:39:49

Well, I don't think it implies a 'good' parent has to tick every single one of those activities either - yes, that would make it just as competitive.

I never got the point of flashcards....

Guitargirl Thu 12-Sep-13 20:41:19

I bet whoever wrote that doesn't have children.

Chottie Thu 12-Sep-13 20:44:35

My DC are grown up now and all the stuff mentioned above is what they remember about their childhoods. It's giving DC time.

MammaTJ Thu 12-Sep-13 20:44:50

Very gender specific in places!! Otherwise a lovely fairyland of wonderful advice for people who are dealing with the reality day to day! hmm

Catypillar Thu 12-Sep-13 20:51:29

I love our school gate chat, usually DH takes DS to school but when I do I often get into conversation with other parents who are boasting about how non-competitive they are, like "well I was hoping the school would teach her some words, I don't think she can read anything" and "I would NEVER think about teaching my kids numbers at the weekend" these are all educated professionals, it's hilarious. I conceal the fact that DS can read and instead announce to all that I don't give a shit that he can't hold a pencil properly...

AmberLeaf Thu 12-Sep-13 20:53:42

I knew someone would moan about it!

I think it is in essence right though.

Birdsgottafly Thu 12-Sep-13 20:59:02

I have one DD who has dyslexia, I had little experience of children when I had her and i thought that she was and wasn't doing things because I had been a young Mum.

It was only when I became a reading assistant in her school and mixed with different families that it became obvious that her "problems" wasn't because of my age ( as every professional had more or less said)

I could of read to (as I tried to) night after night and it wouldn't of improved her reading.

Not meeting milestones got my youngest DD diagnosed and helped/ in a appropriate school as soon as possible.

So I don't agree, too many children went undiagnosed with a varity of issues and so underachieved, as a result of complacency and "don't worry it'll come".

My youngest never had to go through the misery, in school, that my eldest did, because my concerns were listened to and I didn't clap trap on a par with that spouted at me.

Bunnygotwhacked Thu 12-Sep-13 21:11:22


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