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How Do You Know When to Push Your Child and When to Back Off?

Kids do need encouragement to succeed but how much is too much.

This week's topic is inspired by a couple of comments and stories from our Mom's Council.

One mother recalled during a meeting that her daughter was once absolutely devoted to theater- she loved everything about it.  Then one day she lost interest (or so it appeared).

Later, after she had quit the activity, she told her mom she wished she had pushed her a little harder to stay in.

The topic of pressuring kids was also the subject of a discussion at a after a screening of the film 'Race to Nowhere,' which suggests that kids are getting anxious and stressed from the amount of pressure they get in school.

So how much is too much?  To help answer that question we turn to our local moms council, with Courtney Scrabeck, Nina Malone, and Deborah Graff of the local MOMS club, as well as local moms Leslie Aitken and Nadine Isenberg, and Laura Monteros.  Please leave your comments, questions, and suggestions in the section below.

Laura Monteros March 10, 2011 at 12:52 AM
Speaking of laundry, it's a perfect example of how to teach kids to be independent. I started with them helping me to put the dry clothes in the laundry basket, then they learned to put away their clothes after they were folded, then they learned fold them themselves, and finally (when I couldn't tell which clothes were clean and which were dirty), they learned how to sort and wash their own clothes. In fact, I think laundry is a metaphor for what the job of a parent is. Step by step, teach them what they need to know to become independent, healthy adults.
Nina Malone March 10, 2011 at 02:10 AM
We too have decided w/our daughter to allow her to try different activities, she chooses what she wants to do (we decide on how many we think she can handle at a time) and she has to follow through for as long the activity is paid up. There have been times when she doesn't want to go to dance, I allow her to make the decision whether or not to continue, and so far, she's always continued. I ask her why she doesn't want to go and when she says it's hard, we discuss how it takes practice before something comes easier. So far, she's understanding it and wanting to continue. I've also tried to give her a variety of things to do so she can identify a few things eventually that speak to her. We also chose her school based on their alternative homework approach. It is a project-based school and doesn't send home rote homework every night. They feel that if the child's not learning it in school, they're not teaching it right. so if the child needs extra help etc., they find alternative ways of teaching so that it is comprehended. Having said that, while I don't sit at home doing pages of homework every night, I find myself constantly exploring the variety of topics she is studying with her in alternative ways (through the internet, library, home materials, outings, etc.) and developing our own projects to work on. I find she is learning so much in this manner. I'm not saying it works w/every kid tho, you've got to know your kid regarding anything in which they're involved.
Nina Malone March 10, 2011 at 02:19 AM
While I think many children are definitely feeling stressed from ridiculous amounts of homework, I think the schools need to reassess how to better teach and evaluate the kids. For some reason kids aren't producing like they should, but they are having more time in school and more homework. I think kids are incredibly overscheduled also and parents need to really tune into their kids behaviors, open dialogue to assess how they are doing mentally and spiritually. We also do "chores" a little differently. My daughter is 6 and she likes helping around the house. So rather than pay her to do stuff, she either takes the initiative to help out (vacuuming, clearing the table, setting the table, cleaning her room, tidying the living room) or we ask her to do things and we buy her things that we feel are appropriate when she wants them (even if she had the money, we'd be deciding if she can buy it anyhow). She also gains money along the way from birthday money, pocket money from us, etc. so she's got a nice stash in her piggy bank if she wants for money. We've asked her if she'd rather get an allowance, but she likes feeling part of the family and working together, so we've kept it that way and so far it's working out well. One other thing. I used to dance and I ended up taking a year w/a horrible teacher (same thing with violin). I quit both and to this day, regret never having gone back. Kind of wish my parents would have "encouraged" me a little more. Just saying.
Laura Monteros March 10, 2011 at 05:10 PM
My kids didn't get money for doing regular chores and I didn't withhold allowance if they didn't do them until they were in high school. Chores were part of being in the family. Allowance was so they could have some independence in spending and learn how to handle money. I never told my kids how to spend their money, but I didn't buy unnecessary things for them out of my money. They had to save up for the extras. I was actually glad my kids got homework every night, because I felt it prepared them to study as they got older. However, I do feel they got too much (a lot of it busy work) and in middle school and high school, the teachers did not stick to the schedule--English and social studies two nights, math and science the two other nights. Some of the assignments were too long for most kids to do in an evening and sometimes they had homework in five or six subjects on one night. Homework should always have a purpose to it, and it should never be assigned based on how long it takes to do. If the meaningful work can be done in 10 minutes, don't pad it to 45 minutes because that's what some government program or school standard says must be given.
latia February 07, 2013 at 06:56 PM
hi, my name is tia i have this girl name kiki suggs and her son name kendick suggs its like when he gets sleepy and tired he gos and jump on tites and she told us how to get you kid off your beasts and we told her that to puch him off and he will get tired of it and i said to her that it can cost to get you chest pain and it can hurt really bad and you have to go to the doctor for that chest pain and your breast can hurt very very bad to so i said to her when he come to you and put his hard on your breast tell him to get off of you cause that hurt.

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