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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.

wheresthebeach Fri 11-Jan-13 11:45:18

That's a lot of extra work for a little one on top of a full school day. We only do what the school asks plus some extra on spellings because this is a weakness. If you want to do extra - I'd limit it to 15 mins a day.
I'd let him play and relax after school, see friends and develop outside interests.
TBH at this age why push so hard? He'll see all his classmates doing fun extra curricular activities and having play dates and wonder why he can't. It may make him feel that he HAS to do extra work because he's not clever which is the last thing you want.
There's plenty of time to get anxious about school performance in year 5 and 6!

Crocodilio Fri 11-Jan-13 11:55:55

Crikey. 1.5 hours, in addition to school, with extra time for puzzles, etc is an awful lot for a four year old, especially one who is going to spend his time at school concentrating extra hard because it is his second language.

I have a reception boy, very clever, who is doing well. We do fun stuff at home like puzzles and lego construction (great for developing all sorts of skills including maths and physics), read together so now he is starting to read more and more of the words himself, do word games and number games in the car, and other similar things where the learning is incidental to the enjoyment. No pressure, but he is learning loads and remembering it.

You obviously have concerns about what you're doing. Can't you try to make it fun, rather than such a scholarly cramming session? And remember he'll be picking up loads of English from watching tv.

learnandsay Fri 11-Jan-13 11:58:41

Well, for a start you don't need a solution because you haven't presented us with a problem. What you want to do is discuss parenting styles. And don't forget that there are some traditional families and cultures which regard learning as a high priority. It's not unusual to have some families with lots of professionals in many generations. Nobody's saying that that is inherently a bad thing. In fact at one time it was widely considered to be aspirational. Now I'm not sure whether it is or not.

One of your worries is balance. You want to know whether or not you balance playing with your son correctly against teaching him. It's difficult for us to know because we don't know you. But if your son is a happy child and if you don't actively prevent him from playing when he wants to then it is possible that you've got the balance somewhere near right. But again, I don't actually know that. You've got to judge for yourself.

Incidentally I can't abide the term "pushy parent." For me it's a term invented by teachers to denigrate parents who take an active interest in their children's education and I believe that any teacher caught using the phrase should be sacked on the spot. I think it's a disgraceful phrase.

You are considering what's best for your son and trying to separate that from what you consider best for yourself. We can't change our own characters but if we are lucky we can try to prevent our neuroses wrecking havoc with our children's lives. At least you are aware that you're striving to shape your son's life and education. Many parents are unaware of the influence that they are having. Perhaps they are the ones who should be posting on mumsnet.

tiggytape Fri 11-Jan-13 12:00:45

Like anything there needs to be a balance. Doing extra learning activities after school if he's not too tired and if they are fun is sine. Doing 1.5 hours of hard study probably is too much.

And a balance needs to exist between academic abilities and other important abilities such as self care and socialisation. At this age, equal weight should (I think) be given to perfecting skills such as teeth brushing, dressing, sharing and forming friendships as it is to spellings and maths' boards.

I don't think the early introduction to books was a bad thing at all or that it harmed his eye sight but I think there is a potential to turn a child off learning if it is pushed quite so much or if it is done at the expense of other important things.

rrbrigi Fri 11-Jan-13 12:29:09

Yes, education is high priority in our culture (but we start school at the age of 6). And also we think if we fortunate enough to be in this country than we need to make every effort to help him to have a good education here.

Overall he is a lovely life loving boy. He enjoys his life with us, but I need to admit that he prefers us (parents) instead of his peers, when it comes to playing. But it is the same with children who speaks his first language. So I think this type of behavior also comes from our culture, where parent have strong influence on their child life.

1.5 hour seems too much for me also, but on the other side he is not complaining at all, he is not tired at all. And we take breaks as well. We also play together, we play board games, puzzles etc… He also interested in chess.

More that I would interested is how this can be affect his self confidence (self believing). He always asks me if something is perfect what he has done, instead of judge his own work. Also I am afraid that it will "kill" his creativity (e.g.: if I tell him how to form that letter, or something is good or not). And I know creativity is a big part of the English education.

simpson Fri 11-Jan-13 12:46:42

1.5 hours per night sounds a lot to me.

I would want him to be relaxing ie watching some TV or a DVD to unwind (and I have 2 kids,one of whom is in reception who are very driven to read/write a lot)..

I also think you are doing him no favours (sorry if I am being harsh) in doing everything for him. My DD has been dressing and undressing herself for 18mths maybe and I rarely clean her teeth (just check she does it right) and at meal times she is expected to get on with it (although might need some help opening a packet of something)..These are important life skills and as vital as learning academic stuff IMO (more so actually)...

It sounds like he is doing well at school which is good but I would also be concentrating on how he is at making friends etc too...

learnandsay Fri 11-Jan-13 12:47:33

It is possible that you are leaving praise too late. My daughter used to do the most horrendous scribbles and I'd say "that's lovely, darling!" I think, thankfully, I I'm not one of those parents who says that's nice, dear. What is it? But the end result is that my daughter thinks that everything that she does is perfect, even when it isn't. But at the same time she does ask how to spell things. Children also have their own natures and I'm sure some children (maybe your son) like to be reassured that they're doing things correctly. It may have nothing to do with your teaching, that might be part of your son's nature. My daughter's teacher wrote in her reading diary that she constantly seeks reassurance that she's reading correctly. She doesn't do that at home. So I didn't know what the teacher meant by that. I wrote back explaining that she doesn't do that at home. So, it is also possible that your son just picks up some kind of vibe from you and believes that he should keep checking. Other than praise him I'm not sure (if that is what is happening) what you can do about that. I'm sure self belief grows with experience (self doubt too.) I wouldn't worry overly at the moment about it. He's still very young. But make sure he does a few activities that he's naturally good at. Most people (including children) know when they are good at something.

SeeYouWhenISeeYou Fri 11-Jan-13 12:57:21

I do a lot of work with my kids at home, they're 5 and 9, but never more than 3 hours a week. That is plenty for a child who is not behind. If you continue doing work with him for such a long time every single day, it might backfire.

You will build his confidence by allowing him to get dressed, brush his teeth, tie his shoe laces, wipe own bum and feed himself. Allow him to make mistakes and encourage him to try different activities.

What about physical activities? What about socialising? What about music? What about crafts?

Is he able to entertain himself, self-stimulate, engage in games with peers? At his age, these are more important than having all his activities structured and laid out by you.

Pancakeflipper Fri 11-Jan-13 13:01:09

It wouldn't suit my children but all children are different. Some children love a structured learning environment.

I would suggest you try to make him a bit more 'rounded'. I mean just give him other experiences away from the blackboard and books.
Like swimming classes, art classes, dance, yoga, karate, Beavers, playing at the park, tennis, cycling etc.

Some he will like, some he won't but he will learn alot from these experiences and not just how quickly to count to 100.

GateGipsy Fri 11-Jan-13 13:04:15

I think it sounds like you think that his confidence doesn't match his ability. He clearly loves learning, a lot, if you're not pushing him to do all this extra (if he's just going along with it and happy to do it).

I would guess that if you talked to a professional they would tell you that he is lacking confidence because you don't allow him enough independance. And this is really a common thing with children who were sick when young. Heart surgery! I can't even imagine going through something like that.

Let him start doing more for himself. He is 4, he can dress himself, put his own shoes on, feed himself. Give him some jobs that you know he can do, but that are a little hard. Like perhaps taking the plates out to the kitchen or setting the table. Maybe you will get some broken plates but it will do wonders for their sense of self esteem.

Physical play helps with confidence too. Is there a friend at school whose mum might meet you at a local playground so the boys can play together for an hour?

Summersbee Fri 11-Jan-13 13:04:24

I don't think you mention any physical activities ... being physically active is important too if possible, and might help balance things out for you both and help him socially.

simpson Fri 11-Jan-13 13:09:33

Right having thought about this a bit more,I think it's lovely that you care about his education (my DC go to a school where lots of parents think its the schools job to teach their child and not theirs) however, I think it is vital to teach your DS to entertain himself at little bit more which will hopefully build up his confidence. My DS's confidence was low when he was younger (he is now 7) and would ask if he was doing something right a lot (despite me explaining that in some situations there is no right or wrong way,he can choose)...

If you asked him what he wanted to do,what would he say??

I listen to my kids read every day (unless they are ill) and usually play some kind of game with them most evenings but they are now good at entertaining themselves (although admittedly its easier with 2 as they play together) ie DS will play with his cars,match attax cards etc and DD dresses up, plays with her dolls house or whatever....she is also very into colouring in.

Are there any after school clubs he can join?? DS does beavers (although your DS is too young ATM) and both kids go to a youth club every week. Their school does after school stuff too (we find out next week what club they have been allocated)...

rrbrigi Fri 11-Jan-13 13:09:37

He is capable to eat, dress, and wipe his bum alone, only I do for him if he asks me. He is a kind of boy who does not like physical activities a lot. He likes to play more inside the house with his toys or spending time with his grandparents. He likes music too. But he loves learning, that is what he is very good at it, and he loves to do it with me, with his teacher, etc...

He has a couple of friends (3-4) in the school, he plays with them at lunch time, but he does not want to invite them to play after school. And I think nobody knows friends from the KS1 when they are adult (at least I do not). He is participate in group activities as well.

harrietspy Fri 11-Jan-13 13:10:53

I have a v bright ds2 who basically taught himself to read and write when he was 3 by looking at ds1's phonics books. He never has to learn a spelling, just looks at a word and remembers how to spell it. His y2 teacher is great at giving him stretching work, but he began to get really anxious about getting things wrong and I couldn't think where that was coming from. I knew he was learning in a supportive environment where mistakes are seen to be a critical part of learning.

So being a certain sort of parent, I did a bit of reading. I can really recommend 'Self-Theories' by Carole Dweck or 'Mindset', her pop-sci version of the same book, which talks (amongst other stuff) about how giving children the right kind of praise (ie praising effort, determination, resilience) can lead to happier dc with a 'growth mindset' who also, btw, end up achieving more than dc with a 'fixed mindset'. I've found this really helpful with ds2 (and for myself!). We've also started to talk about our 'best mistake today' at tea time.

1.5 hours is a very long time on top of a school day. Reception can be exhausting! Perhaps you could let up on the after-school work, get out the Lego and see what happens?

learnandsay Fri 11-Jan-13 13:13:13

rrbrgi, are you still worried about his weak heart, or is that all in the past now?

simpson Fri 11-Jan-13 13:18:17

I have a daughter who is very driven to read and write ( also in reception) and tbh she would rather be doing this than most other things.

She always has her head in a book and when I check her after she has gone to bed she has usually fallen asleep with a book on her face grin

She is constantly writing letters to her favourite people telling them how much she loves them etc.

However she does not do it with me iyswim. She chooses to do it (as well as other stuff) and will come and either tell me about what she has read or show me her letter. And even she would struggle to do 1.5 hours on top of a school day...

As I have said I listen to her read on a daily basis but if she chooses to do more that is fine,it is also fine if she gets her barbies out or plays with her marble run iyswim...

rrbrigi Fri 11-Jan-13 13:18:33

I am not worried about his heart. He can do everything like a "normal" child physically.

But probably this is the point why I do everything for him, because once I felt the feeling losing him and the feeling that I am not able to help him.

simpson Fri 11-Jan-13 13:20:58

sad sad it must have been truly awful for you,your family and of course your DS.

Your feelings are totally understandable. He is still so young and of course you want to protect/take care of him...

learnandsay Fri 11-Jan-13 13:21:37

Well, maybe it's time to let go a little then. That's something for you to reflect on. But I think it's not that related to the school work/play balance. I think that's a separate issue.

Pancakeflipper Fri 11-Jan-13 13:21:45

I understand that feeling rrbrigi. It is hard and don't be too hard on yourself. You seem to be aware of you doing things for him - just gradually let him grow in independence. It will be one of the best things you ever do for him.

And do try out lots of other activities not just book based things.

harrietspy Fri 11-Jan-13 13:22:12

I can only begin to imagine how awful that must have been. It sounds like you really want the best for him.

simpson Fri 11-Jan-13 13:23:33

I agree with the others,you have acknowledged why you feel the way you do (and act) so maybe it is time to let go a bit....

rrbrigi Fri 11-Jan-13 13:28:51

Very hard to break a habit (protect himself) that you do for years, but I will try harder.

Also I think because of this heart problem, he is behind in development (probably half a year behind), and he is the smallest in his class (half a head smaller than the next one) and these things do not help him to socialize.

Ilovesunflowers Fri 11-Jan-13 13:34:41

As an ex primary teacher I would say 1.5 hours is far too much. For all means practise his sounds, his handwriting and a little reading but no more than 20-30 minutes a day (I would say less but as he is keen 20-30 would probably be fine). In my experience at that age the best things you can be doing are trips and visits to lots of different places rather than study: museums, the beach, playgrounds, soft play, swimming, a forest walk etc. Children learn so much by being out and about. I am sure you'll fine a physical activity he would enjoy. Exercise is really important.

Make sure he has a chance to be a child.

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