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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...

lljkk Thu 23-Jan-14 19:25:09


Reincarnatedpig Thu 23-Jan-14 18:23:38

I really feel that hot housing parents are living vicariously through their children. My elder dd attends a school where most are tutored to get in and continue tutoring throughout their school careers. One of her friend got criticised by her parents for only getting 97% on a maths test instead of 100%. Parents decide their Uni course - it is vile.

My own dd was identified as G & T in music as an early age and I could have forced her down the child prodigy route, however she just enjoys it as a hobby and while she still has lessons; she did grade 8 in her best instrument only and rarely practices because she has loads of other interests.

I think if a child is academic or has a talent you should encourage them and obviously ensure homework is done (as best you can) but forcing kids to do things and applying a great deal of pressure is counter productive.

Lizzzar Thu 23-Jan-14 17:28:42

I agree that a parent sending a child to a particular school mainly so they can boast to their friends etc about the child's achievements could be damaging, but while discussions like this do tend to imply that parents can cause success or failure in their children this is likely to happen. It would certainly be less likely if children were seen more as people in their own right, with their own strengths and weaknesses. I don't think that starting ballet or music training early is necessarily hot housing; the chances of achieving at a very high level if you don't are small, but it has to to ultimately about the child, not the parents.

AbiRoad Wed 16-Oct-13 18:05:34

I think you are right, wordf. One of my DDs is a good swimmer, club level, but will never be a really top swimmer. If she wanted to give up, I would would make sure (as you say) it was not just a blip but would let it go. In this case, however, it sounds like the girl really does have top potential and the dad was battling with himself as to how hard to push the encouragement. He said he kept asking himself whether he woudl be encouraging her becuase of reflected glory but kept coming back to it being something she might really regret in life (imagine competing in the olympics). Hard to get the balance right in that type of situation (i.e. whether he should be pushing harder than I would in the case of my DD wanting to give up swimming becuase the potential is so much greater). When we spoke, he was thinking of suggesting she cut it back to hobby level for a while, so she could step it back up later but not give up completely. Maybe that will work for her. Keep wanting to get the same driver again for an update! (black cab rather than local taxi firm so pure chance).

wordfactory Wed 16-Oct-13 16:43:32

Abi I think when DC get past the fun beginner stage of things there will always be blips, grumbles and gripes. Being very good at something usually involves a lot of practice. And often boredom and sometimes pain. If a child has talent one tries to encouragew them through the blips. But ultimately if they really no longer wish to do it, you have to let them give up, even if it is against all your inner convictions.

AbiRoad Wed 16-Oct-13 12:34:42

The dividing line between being over-pushy and encouraging to achieve potential is a difficult one. I was having a chat with a cab driver recently as he drove me home and he has a teenage daughter who is really excellent in a sport (cant remember the sport but something like judo) and her coach thinks she has olympic potential. She has reached the age where she is more interested in boys etc and wants to give up and he cant decide whether the right thing to do is to just let her or whether he should be encouraging her to keep it up. He thinks she might really regret it down the line becuase she has always really enjoyed it. I suspect the reality is that if she does it reluctantly she wont achieve her potential anyway, but he wonders if it might just be a temp blip that she needs to be encouraged to get over. Difficult.

TheAngryCheeseCracker Wed 16-Oct-13 12:20:52

I know, and it's all relative.

I would say I am not a hothousing mum at all.

But I expect my kids to do their homework, do some reading, and practise violin every day. Sleepovers only in holidays. That sort of stuff. Some parents say I AM hothousing I guess.

I really liked Amy Chua's tigermum book, as it showed that her style of parenting worked well for one child, and not at all the other. It was quite honest in a way, and shows a lot of it depends on the child.

Bad example of hothousing: DS best friend is being prepped for the entrance test of selective secondary, both at (prep) school, with tutor AND his dad makes him practice exam papers for 2 hours a day at weekends.

The boy can't come into school on Mondays due to migraines/vomiting. Every single Monday. He has become nervous about school, he is hating y6.

I hate witnessing this, poor kid. I know his parents mean well, but it seems unfair to heap so much pressure on a 10 year old, if he is the type that buckles under pressure.

Kenlee Wed 16-Oct-13 11:47:50

The thing is everyone is saying they maybe hot housing but all I see is parental support. Where parents are going the extra mile for their children.

It can't be hot housing if the kid enjoys it?.

78bunion Wed 16-Oct-13 10:45:32

It was academic snobbery, not class snobbery. Where we live the private schools are packed with the children of very hard working Asians, Chinese and the like, many many more than the local white population and that is another bonus as many of the children at private schools with those parents feel very privileged to obtain an English education and work hard which benefits everyone in the class.

I did not relaly mean 11+. Plenty of mothers choose to pay fees for academically selective schools at 5 or 7+ too.

TheAngryCheeseCracker Wed 16-Oct-13 10:22:35

I am not sure about the IQ thing.

Too many kids I know have been heavily tutored to pass entrance exams. I know too many kids who are stressed out of their minds in y6.

I can see what you say, in your snobby way ( but I am a snob too) about peer group. But I stand by my anxious parent comment.

But maybe that is just where I live. I don't know if all selective schools are like that.

78bunion Wed 16-Oct-13 10:15:47

Indeed. We simply chose that our children would be with other children who had a high IQ, basic state grammar or day private school. That does not mean the parents are anxious. It just means the child is bright (and in fee paying schools the parents picked jobs which enable them to pay fees which probably means the parents are bright too). If 99% of your year group are going to good universities it is more likely Janice won't leave school at 16 to work in the local call centre or get herself pregnant.

TheAngryCheeseCracker Wed 16-Oct-13 10:13:36

Or a peer group with overly anxious het up parents...

There is a fine line

78bunion Wed 16-Oct-13 10:07:04

Little R - yes I agree that the peer group is a key issue. In a sense women who pay school fees are buying the peer group which tends to ensure high expectations and opportunities.

BumbleChum Wed 16-Oct-13 10:01:35

I have a friend whose 9 year old son is at national standard in a particular sport (for his age group, obviously). He practices 5 days a week, which requires him to be driven an hour each way to the training facility after school and on weekends.

Most people would think he is hot housed. Except that my friend and her DH would rather he didn't do this, and they worry about how much it restricts his ability to do other things (see friends, try other sports etc. etc.).

However, he has been set on it from a very young age, says that the best part of the week is his practice sessions, and would be devastated if they made him stop. So, they drive him there and back, make the packed meals for him to eat in the car, and his dad has begun training as a coach in the sport so he can understand what his son is doing better. I think that's great parenting.

TheAngryCheeseCracker Wed 16-Oct-13 09:44:33

Also, maybe relevant, he was the fourth child. My sisters and I were all tutored through grammar school, music lessons etc. little dude was allowed the last 5 minutes of my piano lessons. I was pushed and did the scales and never loved it, it was a chore, something I HAD to do.

Little dude saw music lessons as a privilege and a treat, something he was allowed to do if he was lucky.

It sparked something inside him.

My parents were fed up with grammar schools and tutoring by the time he came along, so he went to the comp. and got better grades than all of us.

Some lesson in there, somewhere I wonder

lainiekazan Wed 16-Oct-13 09:40:08

ds has a very good brain. But he doesn't make any effort. He is now doing his GCSEs and has finally found that just winging it is not going to cut the mustard. I also had a stiff talk with him about not swallowing his friends' talk of how they did "absolutely no work whatsoever" and got A*s in the GCSEs they did early. As others have said, there is the snobby thing (and it was rife when I was at school in the 80s) of concealing any effort and making out you just tipped up at the exam and aced it on natural ability.

Dd's friend (Chinese) does an activity every night - sometimes two. As well as at weekends. I just couldn't be arsed with that, I'm afraid. Her mother tells me that her Chinese acquaintances are all doing a sort of "Renaissance Man" (or in this case girl) on their dcs - having them tutored in approved sports and art as well as music and academic subjects.

TheAngryCheeseCracker Wed 16-Oct-13 09:38:46

Kenlee, what you say strikes a chord with me.

I think part of is the fact that people have a different idea what "success" is.

For some it means being the best at something ( sports, academia, music) and for others it means having a balance in life ( being financially independent and being " happy" or content).

My brother is very gifted in a sport and in music. When he was 17 he was selected for the national olympic team, that was exciting. Then a year of "hell" ensued, his coach calling him every night at 9 to tell him to go to bed, he had to lose weight to stay within the Lightweight category. My brother was stressed and deeply miserable. My mum encouraged him to pull out. He did and never regretted it. The price was too high.

He is also a talented pianist, and age 15 started winning competitions. He loved playing but the increased pressure meant he enjoyed it less and less, he "cracked" at 16 ( just before he then was selected for his sport) and did not touch the piano for years.

He now has a career he enjoys (science, this fude has maybe more talents than average!) and a happy balanced life.

The high pressure stuff wasn't for him, and I am glad my parents never pushed him to go on. In the end he did not need any pressure to succeed in life.

antimatter Wed 16-Oct-13 09:38:27

LittleRobots - re:music (as my kids excel in in outside of school) - I think it shouldn't be your worry if your kids do it outside of school
look out for Music service in your borough/county, they offer discounted lessons and most have great number of orchestras (some have choirs too)
most popular instruments are oversubscribed, but go with your child's choice - then they will be happy to practice, orchestras invite within first few terms of learning and then kids love making music together
my daughter plays percussion instruments and have been playing with our local Music Service orchestras for the last 4 years, in fact this is one of activities she doesn't want to drop whilst doing her GCSE's, she says it relaxes her smile

wordfactory Wed 16-Oct-13 09:26:30

The decision was sort of made for us Russians DD was spending so much time in London perfroming, and DS goes to school there, and DH works there, and one of my jobs is there...we were staying in our place there, more than not!

It just seemed obvious to DD that she wants to go to sixth form in town.

Plus we're selling our other house and have bought another country pile (of shit wink). It needs a lot of work doing to it. So whilst it will be nice to decamp there some weekends and holidays, it will be better not to be living there full time in piles of dust and bricks!

Where DD actually goes is currently moot. Surprisingly, she's not pushing a specialist school. I think she's spoken to so many actors who are all telling her to get a good education first (at least decent A levels), it's sunk in. DH is mightily pleased of course!!!

We've had a few chats with DS' school (which takes girls at sixth form) about how flexible they would be if she carries on performing and they've made all the right noises...But we'll have to do some looking around elshwere too.

Mumzy Wed 16-Oct-13 08:34:57

Definition of Hot-housing (OED): "an environment that encourages rapid growth or development, especially in a stifling or intense way"
Interestingly most hot housed plants don't do well outside of this environment.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 16-Oct-13 08:32:41

Have you decided to move her then? Is she going to a specialist school (how wonderful. Our drama school head is making noise about why not send DD2 to the Brit school (he knows my sister still lives in Croydon) but there is just no way José. If I was going to send her to a school in Croydon it'd be to my school)?

wordfactory Wed 16-Oct-13 08:17:56

Russians I've given the wrong impression. Apologies. DofE isn't an obligation at DD's school.

It's just that the girls en masse take it up. And that's always encouraged by the school - at least give it a try. If you hate it, fair dos.

I suspect the numbers thin out after Bronze!

The HT has always been adamant that the girls achieve more academically, if their lives are full. So there's lots of other stuff on offer and lots of encouragemnet to at least give it a whirl.

The HT is also a big fan of girls getting out of their comfort zone as she feels it teaches them to be robust. Gotta love that woman.

I shall be extremely sad when my DD leaves after GCSEs. It will be the right move for my DD, but I shall be sorry.

LittleRobots Wed 16-Oct-13 01:28:23

I think it makes a huge difference what your child's peer group are doing as to whether you are thought to be hot housing.

I would dearly love my children to attend a school like words, where sport, art and music are all just seen as a normal part of life.

I was one of those children who could pass exams without trying. However I had such a curiosity and desire to learn I think it was such a shame my parents never encouraged or supported any out of school activities or extension learning. I would have flown!

I'm regularly conflicted with regards to my children. They're still young but I would love them to have the opportunity to play a sport well, learn an instrument etc. Money will be an issue. Also it just isn't the culture at her school. Now she will try anything and loves learning but I fear as she gets older it will be harder to be different from those around you.

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.

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.

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