Children living in primitive surroundings sometimes have fewer stresses on their lives than children working towards the eleven plus. In puberty a boy would join his father in making a canoe, building a wall to protect against wild animals and preparing hunting weapons. A girl living in a primitive manner may be more prepared to look after a baby than attempt an exercise on rotational symmetry.
It is likely, therefore, that children growing up in a relatively simple manner will not feel so much pressure as our eleven plus child.
I have watched many eleven plus children half turn away when their mother offers those immortal eleven plus words: “I don’t really mind if he (or she) fails – so long as he (or she) is happy at school.”
Every single bright eleven plus child knows full well that the mother does not really mean that she does not mind. The children know that their parents will do all they can to ease the path towards the eleven plus.
We once had an eleven plus girl with us who was so bright that she could have passed the eleven plus at the end of Year 3. It is easy to recall her face when her mother said that she did not mind if her daughter passed. (You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.)
While the eleven plus child is working towards the eleven plus it is the function of the parents to try to help him or her to pass the examination. Running battles can be edifying for on lookers – but can not help the preparation.
Not all eleven plus children like decisions to be made for them. After all they are learning more than facts and methods on an eleven plus course. They are learning how to compete and show maturity beyond their years.