Does society put too much pressure on our kids?

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.


2 thoughts on “Does society put too much pressure on our kids?

  1. i agree so much its unreal..the older members of our society keep on saying how things were so much more difficult in the olden days which nobody can argue with coz lets face it they probs did go thru a much harder time than most of us nowadays….but the bad thing is when they try to get us all to do stuff the way it was done before…society has changed, time has moved on….attitudes need to change and people need to realise that if they want a better future then they need to stop kicking our asses and let us do things our own way for once….

  2. I think the society makes pressure on parents, so they start to feel, that their kids should do much more, and should succeed in everything.
    And then parents start to push the kids to learn, to go for sport, to take additional courses…

    It is very hard to resist to this, when you are parent, and you want YOUR kid to be the best everywhere.
    Lucky your children are if you can resists this. 🙂

    Dealing with this has two sides.
    I have two girls, 4 and 7 years old.
    1) I do believe, I can create an environment, which facilitates learning new things, which is free of “fear of failure”, which is open and adaptive to kid’s own decisions.
    It takes a lot of daily effort to create it. We read books together, we discuss them, we experiment with different things.
    We do a lot of stuff, which is planned by the me in advance. Since every “event” requires moderator, and I’m not so good with adhoc moderation. 🙂
    So without plans the evening is gone wasted with cartoons and video-games.

    2) But I also believe, that if kid starts something, he has to finish it with the results. Otherwise, it is waste of time.
    And “push” engagement doesn’t work here at all.
    So it also requires me to invent new engagement method almost every time, my kids stuck.

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