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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Eleven Plus Wind Up Artists

Occasionally, very occasionally, your child may feel a little reluctant to do uplifting eleven plus work. You could meet a tiniest resistance to sitting down to do any work. You may even hear, very faintly, words like, “Well, I don’t care. I am going on strike.”

Our neighbours across the water have a reputation for going on strike to express their feelings. Perhaps our Eleven Plus children have something to learn from our European neighbours. It would be admirable if our children could learn to have the confidence to be to say, “Just for the moment I had had enough, and I would rather do something else.” The more you push the more the child stands firm. It is called growing up. Many parents would argue that growing up is all very well, as long as it does not impact on eleven plus work.

When you sit down to discuss the mini crisis one of the first questions you will ask is if everything is going all right at school. If you child shows a lasting resistance to work then you need to try to find out why. There could be any of a number of reasons:

Worries about school work
Problems with the hitherto much loved teacher
Other child causing problems in the classroom
Difficulty with a child or children in the playground.

Most children will meet at least one teacher during their school like whom they simply do not get on with. Your child may feel that the teacher does not like him or her. The teacher may be perceived, by your child, to be too soft or too hard – or even too unfair.

You will need to explain that he or she will have to learn to live with people they dislike – just like in real life. What a parent needs to be is remarkably tactful because the feelings towards the teacher can change with the passage of time or a different set of circumstances beyond your control. Of course you will discuss favouritism or unfairness. You will talk about gossip and problems with peers. All parents can do is the best they can. They can not win every fight – even if they want to.

Your child may be unhappy because of other children at school. Your first instinct will be to try to protect and shield from unwholesome incidents. Children can sometimes pick on their brighter peers. All you can hope is the school’s attitude to bullying is firm and unyielding.

Of course parents will compromise over one or two missed eleven plus sessions – but most mothers and father will stand firm if the desire to work appears to have left their eleven plus child. After all your child have to test himself or herself against the world of parents every now and then. What better test is there of trying the patience of mum and dad?

I heard very bright one child saying to her sister: “It is good fun winding mum up, isn’t it?”

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