There’s no such thing as a perfect kid, and if you have the formula on how to accomplish this please, inbox me! We all want our children to do well. But if you’re laser-focused on your children becoming superstars, I feel sorry for you and your precious ones.
Harsh, I know. It’s just that children who carry the weight of TOO-high expectations can fall apart. Our intentions are pure. Won’t pushing them to ace their tests, embrace Common Core Math, take piano lessons, play soccer, audition for glee club and join the scouts make them more well-rounded, more team-oriented, more Harvard-ready?
Maybe, but you can go way overboard. Trust me. I have done this, and thank goodness I have had my husband, Diondre, to reel me in sometimes.
According to an organization called KidsHealth, 41 percent of children said they feel stressed most or all of the time because they have too much to do. The poll was conducted on 882 children, aged nine to 13.
I know what you’re thinking – that your kid is killer on the piano and lives for soccer. She’s doing what makes her happy. And children who pursue their passions will likely be successful without a push from Mom, Dad or their caretaker. In that case, let them enjoy whatever they enjoy.
But if they’re juggling six or seven commitments that they love, you’re doing them a favor by setting limits. Children need free time, family time and, above all, sleep. Too much to do, including homework, will wear them out, and their school work can suffer. Never mind how crazy your own life becomes playing parent/chauffeur/cook/chauffeur/homework helper. Did I mention chauffeur? Whew!
My daughters are involved in book club, AWANA (a bible-centered youth group), and they attend Miracle Math for academic coaching to keep them on top of their school work. I think that’s just enough to keep them busy without them feeling burdened. And even as the Academic Coach Guru that I am, I try not to ride them too hard about how well they do in class and, especially, on tests. That comes as a surprise to people. Diondre and I expect them to give school work their best effort. That’s what’s important.
By the way, pressuring your son or daughter too much about tests can result in lower scores. A United Kingdom study found that pressure and anxiety can temporarily devastate working memory – essential for good test scores. In other words, that D or F could be partly your fault.
As for the demands of too many activities, I like what Stefanie Wilder-Taylor says. She’s a former stand-up comic and the mother of three who recently published a book called, “Sippy Cups are not for Chardonnay:”
“Ask yourself what’s important to your family. You can’t do everything. Maybe you feel strongly that kids need to be involved in a team sport and (this is key) your kid thrives being on the basketball team. In that case, family dinners may have to take a backseat to games and your homework sometimes gets done in the backseat of the car or not at all…
Or you’ll be like me and try to do everything, working yourself up into a constant panic. But at least you’ll get a book out of it.”