Putting too much pressure on kids

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Below is an extract of a very well written article which serves as a good reminder for all parents. Maybe it's time to reflect and ponder.

Obsession with paper qualifications has added a new dimension to parenting in Singapore. A good parent is often seen as the one who gives the best help possible to assist his child in the pursuit of academic excellence. The final goal of parenting, more often than not, is to help one's offspring obtain highly-paid jobs, preferably with social status attached to them. As a result many ambitious parents exert pressure on their children to excel in school work. They coax, demand, bribe or even threaten and thousands of dollars are spent on private tuition for young aspiring scholars... because of the importance placed on education, many parents tend to be over-concerned with their children's performance in school, thus sometimes unknowingly exerting unnecessary and even harmful pressures on them.

It is natural for parents to want the best for their children. Unfortunately, what a parent thinks is the best for his child may not be what the latter is capable of or is interested in doing.... Many parents are also guilty of intellectual snobbery. They are more concerned with the status rather than the well-being of their children. May would rather have their children fail at a university than have them sent to a technical college...

Another area of concern is related to the pressures and stress many parents exert on their children by involving them in all kinds of activities in order to have an "all round education". We are only too familiar with the laments of many parents over the tight schedule they have chauffering their children from one activity to another. For them life has become a hectic rush from school to music lession, tuition class, competitive games and martial art practice session, etc. leaving both parent and child very little time to relax. No doubt, no one can deny the values of engaging our children in such cultural activities, but need we make life so burdensome for our children? These activities are only helpful when they are tailored to the capacities of our children, allowing time for leisure and play. Children are young only once. We must allow them a break from the demands of a competitive school curriculum and the burden of so many extra-curricular activities.

There is yet another aspect of the paper chase. While those who can cope are caught up in the rat race, those who can't can cause problems to themselves and others. Many young people who are capable of high achievement along the academic road have fallen by the sideway because of their inability to cope with the pressures from school as well as from their parents. Child psychiatrists have found that neurosis in children could be caused by unrealistics parental pressures. These children develop symptoms such as nervous habits, withdrawal or aggressive behaviour...

By Esther Tan. One Voice, Jan-Mar 1984, pp 8-10

1 comments:

WaveSurfer on August 12, 2008 at 3:36 PM said...

I very much agree with the article quoted above.

Though I'm in no real position to comment on the current-day parents (as we just received a newborn), I will keep reminding myself and my wife the importance of giving our child a deserving and fun childhood, instead of another Michael-Jackson-in-the-making (he didn't have a childhood cos was performing on stage almost all his life).

Our blog: http://babyoflove.wordpress.com

 

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