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“Pushy parent”

(65 Posts)
rrbrigi Fri 11-Jan-13 11:30:22

I need to admit that I might fell under the category as ?pushy parent?. And this is not what I?d like to hear, I am more interested in how it affect, will affect my son life socially or in any other way. A bit of background: both parents went to university and the family is not English, so we speak 2 languages.

He is in reception and I think he is a very good learner (but I cannot compare because I grow up in another education system). But I have some evidence. His English is only a half year behind compare with his peers (however he learns English only in the school and no any English influence from home). He is in yellow reading level, good in math (adding up, subtracting numbers up to 20, counting at least to 100, knows his shapes 2d and 3d, etc?) and his writing is good as well (they learn cursive letters). He is a summer born child (and had a heart surgery) so physically he is a bit behind (but I think I would put this under the fact that we do everything for him at home: change his clothes, clean his teeth, help him eat, etc?). Socially I would say he is ok. He definitely not the chattiest boy, and he does not like to be in the middle, but he has some friends (3-4) mostly from the older children. But we do not mind, because we are the same type of person with his father.
He is a kind of learner that if you do something with him he remembers from the first time. He understands the logic in math. He loves books (because we influence him with books since he was born). And I would like to take advantage of these. He is only 4.5 and we learn together at least 1-1.5 hour every weekday, sometimes weekend as well. I do not need to push him very hard to do it, but of course if he could choose he would watch TV. When I say learning, I really mean learning (do math next to a board, reading, spelling and writing) ad not playing with puzzles or board game (we do these as well, but in another time).

But in the other hand I am worried a bit too. He wears glasses and sometime I think it is my fault, because I introduced the books for him too early. And I think he develop some kind of urge to try to be perfect for me. I am afraid that he does things because I ask him (most of the time) and not because he would like to do it. He always asks me if I think his job is perfect or not. I think he does not believe in himself as much as I believe in him (however he can do everything he wants, he just need to try it and most of the time he succeed).

I would be interested to know if any other parents do the same at home (probably this is typical and I should not worry at all), or if any teacher had experience with children with ?pushy parent? like me. And why I would like to know these things, simply because I would like to be the best mum for my son, even if I need to chnage my behaviour.

I am prepared to get negative answers, but I would be happier to get some kind of solution (how you are dealing with situation like this) or experience from other parents and teachers.

blackcurrants Fri 11-Jan-13 13:36:05

please do read Carol Dweck's book "Mindset" - if your son is already worried about whether or not he's doing something perfectly that is a toxic mindset which will hold him back and make him nervous and unhappy, no matter how clever he is.

FeltOverlooked Fri 11-Jan-13 14:06:23

I still have friends from KS1 and so do my brother and sister. I am not sure why that is relevant though?

When a child plays with friends is not an investment for their adult social circle. It is about having fun and relaxing also learning about turn-taking, playing fair, "different house, different rules", etc.

My children are doing fine at school. We have a loose timetable over a week of when we will cover homework and the odd bit extra (e.g. violin, handwriting practice for son). But we are prepared to not agonise over it when it doesn't happen. e.g. yesterday their Granddad came so it was board games, stories and singing all afternoon - no homework.

There are a lot of areas you can think about in which you may want your child to develop besides academia:
- social: getting on with others, having fun, having interests (theatre? museums? nature?)
- musical: does he listen and play to a range of music (free festivals, dancing round the living room, banging a drum/wielding a "microphone" and being a rock star, learning an instrument, joining a choir...)
- physical: can he catch, ride a bike, swim?
- nutrition: does he eat well? does he enjoy eating out? do you cook together?
- creativity: does he enjoy pretending with dolls, puppets, trains, cars?
- artistic: does he have fun with clay, paint, drawing, colouring?

Not saying you need to do all of these, but just trying to paint a possible spectrum of activities. If he gets home from school at 3:30 pm, for example, and goes to bed at 7 pm and has to fit 90 minutes school work in, there is not much time for any of the other things on the list.

Tgger Fri 11-Jan-13 14:16:45

Hi there,
I don't want to criticize your parenting choice, so if you want to do 1.5 hours after school with your child then that is your choice. However, you have asked for opinions, all I would say is make sure you don't stifle his creativity, and I think maybe by doing this amount of extra "formal" learning he might not have time to do his own thing, to have some down time and to find his own passions.

How can children find their own passions if they are always being directed by a teacher or a parent? They can't really I think. I think there is room for both, it is tricky to get the balance. A bit of direction provides stimulation, too much and you risk stifling creativity and the child's sense of self.

In regard to praise. I've read about this and the trick is to praise effort rather than just give "empty" praise which is quickly a turn off to children. And to be specific when you can. That way the child values the effort they have put in and will be more likely to keep trying at a task they find hard.

itsallscone Fri 11-Jan-13 14:30:44

op you wrote 'I think he develop some kind of urge to try to be perfect for me. I am afraid that he does things because I ask him (most of the time) and not because he would like to do it. He always asks me if I think his job is perfect or not. I think he does not believe in himself as much as I believe in him (however he can do everything he wants, he just need to try it and most of the time he succeed)'.

Have you ever tried asking him what he thinks about what he has done? how he feels about it? My Ds used to be the same at times until I smiled and asked him what he thought (absolute class the first time I did it the look of shock on his face said it all! grin), now its a regular thing and he seems to love the fact that we value his opinion as an individual and now he will attempt the things that he would never of even given the time of day to a while back. I think that sometimes without even realizing it we parents tend to help our Dc too much eg cleaning their teeth, dressing them, helping them to do their best with their education etc but at the same time we are preventing them from becoming their own person IYSWIM which I should imagine would have some impact on their self esteem after all if someone has always guided them even with the really small things how can they possibly learn to tackle something themselves without expecting more guidance from someone close?

kilmuir Fri 11-Jan-13 15:23:54

when do you timetable in having fun, playing and relaxing?

thegreylady Fri 11-Jan-13 17:43:00

He needs a childhood not academic pushing.He needs to play with you and with others.At 4.5 he needs no extra work at home except a little bit of reading.He needs to have his confidence and independence bolstered.

educatingarti Fri 11-Jan-13 18:07:35

You need to praise his effort rather than his achievements. For example say " I can see you were really trying hard - well done" rather than "you got 10 out of ten - well done"

I also thing you are doing way too much extra with him after school. I agree with sunflowers about this!

Verugal Fri 11-Jan-13 18:16:20

Have you considered taking him to music

Verugal Fri 11-Jan-13 18:21:45

Have you considered taking him to musi nc classes? You can start stringed instruments in reception and its a good educational activity with a social dimension.

DillyTante Fri 11-Jan-13 18:23:17

My DD1 is 5.5, nearly free reading and also loves to write lists and letters. But like other posters' kids she does this mostly on her own when she wants to. School is very tiring & my dd doesn't have any sense of winding down so I let her watch TV or play after school. I struggle to see where you can fit 1.5 hours of extra learning in on a school day!

He needs a childhood and to develop imagination. He also needs to be self directed in what he does. I rarely play with my girls but I'm rarely required to as bother together and separately they are excellent 'players' and can amuse themselves for hours. I think that is as just an important skill as maths etc.

Give him a break, and yourself a break! Children learn so much through play, and it helps them process things emotionally. Being a secure and sociable person is just as much an advantage in life as academic achievement.

SchoolFool Fri 11-Jan-13 20:16:44

Personally I think you are pushing him too hard. You don't mention having his friends over to play, developing interests outside the home, just relaxing after school.. It's rather telling that you say that he could watch TV if he wanted.. Are home study and telly the only options in your house?

cory Fri 11-Jan-13 20:18:50

I think if there is anything that I would do differently it would be to encourage him to do more physical and outdoors things even if he doesn't like them- because they are good for his health and will help him to socialise later- and to become more independent with practical skills. If you baby him for too long, other children will perceive him as babyish and that may make it harder for him to form friendships even with the kind of children who could help his academic development by sharing his interests. It isn't just about whether you mind about him having friends; it's about what will be best for him.

Crouchendmumoftwo Fri 11-Jan-13 23:07:35

What a sweet boy he sounds, but I think you are worrying about him which you would bearing in mind his past conditions but all that studying at home for such a little chap is too much. Without sounding too harsh it sounds you you are trying to produce a socially inadequate nerd. He is only 4.5 he need to be out playing having fun, learning through play, having play times at homes and other homes with other children to have fund and develop friendships and make friends and to grow his confidence. He needs to have a dance and a giggle and to go and see pantomimes, dance around the street singing. Have time to do nothing and feel bored, to be creative. I really think you are doing him much good with this overbearing teaching stuff. Ask yourself the question why are you doing it? What good do you think you are doing? Sounds like you are going to produce a very stressed out and socially shy young man. Give him his childhood back.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Fri 11-Jan-13 23:09:16

I am a reception teacher and a mum of a reception age boy as well as coming from an overseas and academic background. My boy is bright too and he only has to see, do or hear something once and it all gets internalised straight away.

I think the most important thing at this age is encouraging friendships with his peers, giving him lots of lots of life experience and building his self confidence. Can you invite one of his classmates for playdates at home or elsewhere? Having social skills with his age group is very important and am I right that he spends most of his time with adults and older children? Do you go to (for example) the park, the shops, museums, garden centres, train stations, airport, soft play area, concerts, nature walks, swimming, farm, cinema, theatre? Having these experiences means that he can draw from them for story telling and he will have lots of knowledge about the world. Praise his efforts rather than getting the right answer or writing perfectly.

Spend less time doing academic work as I think that one and a half hours of work is too much and spend more time learning through play - children learn best through play. Could you change your approach to be more creative so that both you and your son can have fun? I actually don't do more than fifteen minutes of "work" with my son and he is still doing great. Most of the time, I sneak learning in without him knowing.

His heart surgery may have set his development back, but don't forget that he is a summer baby and makes a big difference too. He sounds like a lovely boy, btw.

Crouchendmumoftwo Fri 11-Jan-13 23:32:58

Really good feedback PopMusicShooby...
You put it much more softly and and nicely.
I think you are right in the fact that the social interaction with peers and understanding the rules of interaction and making friends are very important at this stage. I too have a very bright little boy. I dont spend much time with him teaching him with books at all. He is bright I dont need to overburden him with more than he needs he is 4.5 only.

What is very important to me is that he has fun every day and is always smiling and laughing. Also getting the cultural currency he needs to keep up with friends at school so learning foot ball, martial arts with lots of different boys, learning about trends of music, books, programmes, thoughts are so very important when interacting with other kids and feeling a valued part of a group. He loves me to wrestle with him and read a book. I think its really important to teach them the social skills of interaction with other kids and adults so playing in parks and going to other kids houses all those things which give a child confidence. He will learn in time, there really is no hurry is there especially for a 4.5 year old. It's more fun to chase a cat or scoot around the streets or play spies with a friend and learn the subtle or not so subtle nuances of frienships and play that will take you through life. Better to go out doors and smell fresh air that be forced to study which believe me will come into force much more later. I feel it is so important for children to have a happy and relaxed childhood and not to be controlled so much. Dont get me wrong Im too harsh with my son a lot of the time and directional about things and Im not easy going, what im saying is more of the parent I want to be! We are not all perfect and you are doing a great job you just need to stop the traditional learning methods and get you little boy out and about having a bit more fun!

rrbrigi Mon 14-Jan-13 09:51:41


Reading your answers and think through their meaning, on Saturday we went to visit a kung-fu class, that he enjoyed a lot. He got "jobs" to do at home (like: clean his teeth alone, dressing up alone, etc...) and if he does he can get reward in his next kung-fu class. I hope this will help me to let him do things alone. He dressed up himself this morning. smile He looks forward to going to the next kung-fu class. Also I took him to a drama class, that he did not enjoyed that much, so probably we won't go again. He also visited his cousin on Sunday. We read his books, did a bit of writing (approx half an hour a day) and played together.

I will try to give his childhood back. There is a little girl in the school, that my son likes to play and I would like to invite her to play with my son after school. Silly question but please could you write down for me how I should ask her mother? Should I invite her mother too? Or is it very unlikely that a girl will come to play with my son?


redskyatnight Mon 14-Jan-13 10:24:31

Sounds like a lovely weekend.

As regards asking the girl round to play do you know her mum/dad (or at least know who they are)? If you do, I'd go up and introduce yourself (if they don't know who you are) and then say that your DS was asking if he could have their DD round to play after school. You could add that the parent would be welcome to come round and have a cup of tea as well (some parents will want to, others won't care). Then depending on the reaction sort out a date and swap phone numbers. I don't think (if they play at school) there is any problem in a girl coming round to visit a boy. Chances are the other mum will be wanting her DD to get to know more children anyway so will be pleased at the invitation.

If you don't see the parents you can give the teacher a note to put in her bookbag.

learnandsay Mon 14-Jan-13 10:29:01

Of course the little girl will come to play with your son. Why wouldn't she? Yes, invite the mother too. We usually invite playdates for tea the first time because it can all be done quite quickly and easily. When we know other children and families better we tend to have lunch together and spend longer together.

The normal thing to ask the mother is "how is your daughter settling in at school? (If you're giving them tea/food) Is there anything that she can't eat?"

There is no need to ask her lots of questions in general and no need for her to ask you lots either. You can lay paper and felt tip pens out for the children to play with.

rrbrigi Mon 14-Jan-13 10:40:27

Thanks. I do not know her mum, I mean I have never spoken to her but I saw her when we pick up the children, so I know which one is her mum.

I am a bit nervous, because of my English. Do you think does it count? I mean who wants her daughter to play in a house where the people are not English (different culture, etc...)? Is it a negative thing? Or I should not worry about it?

The teacher told me that the girl and my son are good friends, so hope the gilr mentioned my son at home a coule of times.

learnandsay Mon 14-Jan-13 11:17:31

Our daughter's best friend is Vietnamese. We have visited each other's families many times. One parent has quite good English the other doesn't. They're both hard to understand but the effort is worth it.

educatingarti Mon 14-Jan-13 11:27:17

A lot of people would be pleased for their child to learn about a different culture. It is really good for children to experience different cultures and languages. It's not negative at all.

I can understand how you might feel nervous but please try not to be! I'd just say that your son would really like her daughter to come and play after school one day. Would that be OK and is there a day that would be convenient? Say that the mum is welcome to come too if she would like to. Some mums might want to come but others will enjoy having a couple of hours without their child to get things done.
If you are offering them some tea, ask if there is anything the girl (and her mother if she is coming) don't like to eat.
You can swap phone numbers and addresses and if the girl is coming on her own, arrange that you will collect her with your son after school and what time the mum will pick her daughter up.

Alternatively if there is something like a soft play area near you, maybe you could offer to take her daughter with your son. Again extend the invitation to the mum if she would like to come too!

I think it is lovely that you are encouraging your son to be more independent in dressing himself and cleaning his teeth. It sounds as if you had a great weekend!

HelpOneAnother Mon 14-Jan-13 12:03:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FeltOverlooked Mon 14-Jan-13 16:58:51

Oh yes, Beavers is a great plan. Our group is very social and a great way for families to get to know each other. They do lots of different things.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Mon 14-Jan-13 22:13:48

rrbrigi. It sounds like you had a lovely weekend. Did your DS notice the change in the amount of work that you both did? I'm so glad that you have decided to give him his childhood back.

It's nerve wracking, isn't it, approaching parents? I would just say that the teacher told me how nicely they play together and that DS really would like to invite her round to play. There is a high chance that the mum will say yes. I've asked several parents and only one was a bit "funny" about it. Rest all said yes, and two have become firm play dates that DS sees regularly. And parents have become friends with me, which was a nice bonus.

Crouchendmumoftwo Mon 14-Jan-13 22:34:10

Hi rrbrigi,

Wow I was so touched to see what huge steps you have taken. That is amazing. Im sorry I didnt really take on board English being your second language and came across as harsh.
Can I say it wouldnt matter if English was your second language for play dates. lots of kids at my sons school have parents and children with English as a second language and have lot of play dates. I think most parents are delighted if their children are asked for a play date. Some mums want to come and some don't it's really hard to tell until you ask.
My son had a playdate with a girl and it didnt really flow and he wanted to wrestle and run around and she really didnt fancy it and wanted to go home! I got really stressed and dressed up entertaining them, I was exhausted by the end of it and should have called her mum to collect her! Boys and girls can be very different playing but your two sound like they will be just fine, just be prepared and dont take it personally. The second play date with a boy went well and they did a lot of playing by themselve which was wonderful and very liberating for me. Wow sounds like you are doing such lovely things, classes are a bit hit and miss! Kung Fu sounds brilliant. Good luck sounds fantastic what you are doing. Well done. Best wishes.

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