Many years ago I can remember reading about Professor Ross Stagner who looked at relationships between parents and children. As I recall he was writing around the early 1940s. This was about the time that the early work on the eleven plus was being developed. A quote I partly remember, but can not find the source of, was along the lines:
“Studies of the heredity nature of emotional behaviour have been especially prolific in producing controversies, if not understanding, in the area.”
In other words if mum or dad, while working on eleven plus papers, is a cantankerous curmudgeon then it is likely that their child will approach work in a similar manner? In more other words a grumpy mother may, or may not, develop a grumpy eleven plus child.
Is the reverse true? Will a happy, charming and selfless mother develop a child who approaches complex eleven plus work in a like manner?
We often see big differences between the attitudes of siblings to each other. It is easy to establish that siblings may develop differences in attitudes towards the eleven plus. Take an older sister who passed the eleven plus with flying colours. Younger brother comes along, possibly just a bright, but certainly less confident academically. Is older sister going to take time out of her busy day or will she offer a ladylike grunt and throw an answer to her little brother?
Will the softly, softly approach advertised by grandmother help – or should the family adopt the gruff and passionate approach – as promoted by Uncle Fred? Will either method bring lasting peace to the eleven plus home?
Can a desire to be hardworking and successful be manufactured – if it is just not there?
Will the art of arguing ever be developed to such an extent that no one wants to work with the prospective candidate? Did he inherit this from dad?
Most parents will just be happy if their eleven plus child puts in some meaningful work. This could imply a contented and successful pupil. Without trying to be too controversial it is possibly true to say that an emotionally balanced child makes an emotionally balanced parent. More research, however, is needed.