Confession Time(44 Posts)
I have been lurking here for a couple of years. I started when I was in Australia and from then until now I have listened in on conversations about UK schools for my eight year old son. I am not a mum.... I'm a dad (scandal!). And I have moved to the UK on UK ancestry as a kind of advance party seeking to create a stable circumstance for my wife and son to join.
I just want to express sympathy to the many parents who are on this site talking about education with their children. In the UK system there are a lot of early evaluation points (7+, 8+ and other age points such as to music schools etc that seem to loom) and you look at your kid and you think "I need to make him/her ready". And you may sense that kid is bright and that if you don't make him or her ready that the kid is going to miss out on schooling options that may lead to university options etc.
Now the confession. I have been a pushy father. I have looked at my kid and thought "This is what he will become so I need to help him make his way there faster than he might otherwise if he is going to have the best opportunities". Now I imagine there are people on this forum who want their kid to become a brain surgeon because in some way their ego is tied up with it. Personally I don’t have enough respect for the opinions of others to get caught up too much with whether I or my son is greatly admired. What I want to do is make my kid safe and I look around at the world and think how vulnerable my kid will be. So I tried to give him skills as some kind of suit of armour. (By the way if you do want your kid to be a brain surgeon so you can feel good about yourself I feel sorry for you and of course for your kid - your mission is doomed to fail because your kid will never compete against all those other kids who really want to be brain surgeons as they operate driven by fear of losing your approval. Fear is not as potent a motivating force as love is…. your life and your kid’s life is going to be desperately sad….I’m not judging you but don’t go down that road…. you’re going to be so unhappy). Anyway the desire to make my kid “safe” and therefore my desire to accelerate everything undergirded about two years in which my kid spent far too much time doing homework and working ahead in maths and practising musical instruments. And so I feel COMPELLED to report back to those of you who have yet to make choices or are currently in the process of screwing things up to tell you what I have learned (although I want to admit that if I was writing to myself twelve months ago I would not have listened - I am writing just in case ANYONE driven is capable of listening).
I have learnt two simple lessons:
- my child’s now being happy (my wife is getting him sorted out in my absence which is pretty humbling) is absolutely wonderful to witness and has caused me to also feel a rich sense of joy that I was not expecting.
- Ten days with your child operating out of a deep sense of being loved and accepted and of your child operating out of the confidence they then feel and out of the interest THEY choose to show in something will do more than ten months of trying to make them do stuff. Take music practice. If your kid isn't interested in music they will moan and groan through one grade a year but if they decide they are their full focus will do more than all the ranting and raving in the world will ever achieve.
I think there are quite a lot of parents who already know that making your child feel loved and accepted is the best parenting but they still have a problem - they have looked at the price for making their children feel this way and they have decided it’s too high. To help your child to be loved and accepted it might mean that from a career perspective you need to be a nobody. Ask your child if they care if you are the top person in your company - they have absolutely no interest in anything except you being there for them. If you feel able to pay the necessary price for your children to be happy then you will earn a return for your investment which will be far greater than any investment in your career. So I have decided to invest love and wait for my kid to blossom as one does when one plants a seed and then spends days saying “Is it shooting yet? When’s it going to happen!” But it will happen.
Meanwhile we missed 8+ Westminster and St Pauls (from what I have read online my son’s maths was outstanding even for those schools - or is it just because I accelerated him?) but either due to the ways in which I tried to screw him up or because he wasn’t ready emotionally and because I didn’t have support from my wife he didn’t do the tests. We withdrew. But I have never felt surer that it’s going to be ok…..no scratch that it’s going to be marvellous. He has had a quiet six to eight months and his happy heart and his confidence has returned. And so has my happy heart.
Even if you are far from 7+ you are already making the equivalent choices that you will be making now, even with babies. Will you leave you kid to cry themselves to sleep or will you adjust yourself to the needs of your kid (according to his or her timetable) and pay the price that will have on your neat perhaps ambitious life? Now don’t feel guilty about when it’s all too much and you just can’t do anymore… everyone faces those moments. It was my wife and not me that would get up in the middle of the night for my son and sometimes it would all be too much and she would lose it. Surprise! She's human. What a revelation. But I am challenging you to work out what you are PLANNING to do…. what you are AIMING to do? Settle it first in your mind and then see how much of what you planned to do you are able to do. And then forgive yourself when you fail by accepting God’s forgiveness.
One final thing. I did bad things to my son out of the emptiness that was inside me. My actions were driven by fear. All it took was for me to be afraid to really make my son miserable. But how can you not feel afraid? We look around us at the moment and we see so many reasons to feel insecure. I personally cannot see how one can make one's child happy in their heart unless I the parent have some kind of peace within my heart. What helped me was a deeper connection with the Christian God. I now have what some would consider an irrational sense of peace that it’s going to be ok. I simply write what helped me - you do what you like with what I have told you.
when did educational choices become a sermon? Try the religion threads.
LilQueenie, did you dislike it all? Or just my reference to Christianity? Are we in agreement on children needing to be given acceptance and the ability to operate from their own motivation...and that giving children that opportunity is costly for parents? I'll settle for that at this stage.
That thread is far too long for me to read the full thing! Do you have a question or is it just a critique of the UK education system?
Go for a state school rather than private and the pressure will magically melt away. Kids can be kids.
OK. So what are you selling/blog are you promoting?
It's not really anything ineeda. Just a pretty indecipherable brain dump which we're supposed to learn from and now to his greater knowledge.
information and life experience is free. Not costly. Its just a long long passage that throws in religion at the end.
Oh goody, a man is here to explain how we Godless women are getting it all wrong.
Haven't learnt much from that lurking, have you?
Ah. Right. Behold, women, we've been doing it Wrong. Tut tut.
I think double face perfectly suits this thread, Madam. No oopsing needed.
I don't think I've seen "undergirded" written down before.
Oh well. Thanks anyway for the advice you have given each other that I have read and benefited from.
But choices are costly.
And from the username - vowels are too apparently.
Thank God I clicked on this thread, I was about to force 13 month old DS2 to STOP PRACTISING his fucking viola but I've changed my mind now.
I'm sure you mean well, but it comes across as a very patronising thread. I'm glad you are now at peace with your parenting. I'm not a pushy parent, so I don't think your post is aimed at me anyway!
Problem is OP, Jesus appeared to me and told me that DD should be doing Kumon. I am a bit conflicted now having read your warning though.
I think the problem is that pushy parents will simply ignore you. They are too wound up in the world of entrance exams, and grade 8 by year 6 (and, yes, I know plenty of those).
The rest of us already know what you have realised, and are already keeping it all in perspective.
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