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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pushy 11+ Mums

What happens when you hear of a mother labelled as a `pushy mum’? Mums push their children for a variety of children. Very often they simply want their child to do better than they did. Other mums will want their child to have the same opportunities that they had at school. A few mums will become pushy simply because they are competitive.

It is very unlikely that a mother will become pushy over eleven plus examinations if she has not already been pushy over pram sizes, colours in the nursery and what to wear on the first day to school. So all you can do is admire her for her effort – but you can not afford to get caught up and try to compete.

If you push your eleven plus child too much you will not ever allow him or her to feel good and pleased. All you will have done if you push too much is to set yet another target to beat. I have heard mums talking to their children about results on papers.

“Well done for achieving 82% on that paper – next time try for over 90%.”

That sort of statement may work very well once or twice but that sort of pressure simply can’t be maintained.

Sometimes parents want their children to do so well at school that they push them beyond their natural ability. Some average children can be helped to above average levels by intensive coaching and hard work. This does not always mean that the child will be able to maintain the same standard as and when the pressure is taken off. There is nothing at all wrong with being an average child who is happy at school. Mums sometimes take it personally when it is suggested to them that it may be time to back off and just let their child be an ordinary child for some time.

I remember years ago two charming children who were given cricket coaching by the equivalent of a county professional. The children were never going to be good enough to make a school cricket team – but their parents wanted the children to have the best possible opportunity. This is not quite the same as parents who want their child to get into the cricket team and so provide the best possible coaching.

The problem for many of us is that a child who may be exceptionally bright at something aged two years may not develop into an exceptional child at ten years old. We need to add into the equation the child’s motivation.

It may be your dream for your child to go to grammar school. Your child may say that he or she wants to go to grammar because you have been on and on about the advantages of grammar school. For your child to start to dream about going to a grammar school is a very different matter. Your child may `grow’ into the idea but you may be pushing too hard if you force your child to work simply by the strength of your personality.

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