After watching the Flemish news today, I felt compelled to write something about what most parents must frequently come across. The amount of pressure we daily put on our kids!
A few days ago a 20 year old boy ran away from home, after some bad grades in college. He wasn’t the first one who made the news. The fear of bad grades and reaction of family, seems to be ending up in runaway cases and worse: Teenage suicide.
Another item on the news. Twelve year olds (in 6th grade) have to do a lot of tests before they can go to middle school. One of these tests now, in certain schools, is to make a dessert from scratch in school. Not only do they need to make a dessert, they have to make it with an artistic twist, leave their workplace squeeky clean AND write the whole recipe and method down for the teacher. This is on top of their regular languages, history, maths work, etc…
In Belgium toddlers can go to school from when they are 2 and a half years old. They learn to read and write from the age of 5-6, another language is introduced by the time they are 10. We have an excellent school system. However, sometimes I wonder whether we put too much pressure on our children? They have to perform well in school, in their sports team, socially they are only accepted when they have a heap of friends…
By the time our youngsters reach college or university, some might crack! 20 years old and life beats them with a stick so hard they can’t handle it anymore.
As a single parent I frequently think about this. My kids are for the most part deprived of their dad. Which must cause some sort of stress already. So I have decided to be guided by my children. My daughter, who is 4, is attending school when she wants to (compulsary school starts in September for her). A month ago I talked to her teacher and apparently my daughter is doing as well as her classmates who attend fulltime school. She is chatty, social, good in all the skills they also teach in school…but all learnt in her own time.
My household is a no pressure household. My children do things when they feel ready for it. Not when I think they are ready, or when society says they should be. It definitely is tricky, because most people think we are a bit “out there”. Although, I feel I do what is right for the kids.
When you think about it…does society put too much pressure on our youngster? And how do you deal with it? Thoughts always welcome.