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Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Eleven Plus Partnership

The eleven plus is sometimes a judicious partnership between parent and child. As in any partnerships there will be rifts and disagreements as well as co-operation and `partnership’. Children have to cope with the anxieties and resistances of the parents. Parents have to take into account their child’s attitude to the eleven plus, extra work, possibility or failure and the sheer enormity of the task. Some words work both ways.

“Don’t worry dear, you will be all right.”

“Don’t worry mum and dad, it will be all right.”

Parents and their children have to keep regrouping and working on their relationships. For parents it must be very difficult, at times, to try to keep slightly detached from what has to be learnt and the manner in which it is learnt. If parents agonise too much over a wrong answer they could be sending the wrong message to their child. In the examination a child may find that he or she needs to `have a go’ at a demanding question. (Is `having a go’ the same as a guess?) Children, however, may need to understand the need for order in their parent’s lives. After all if we can’t completely order our own lives we can at least have a go at ordering the lives of our eleven plus children!

Is it possible that some parents may, at times, be guilty of a little introspection? Do I have the right papers? Should I believe everything I hear in the playground? What else does my child need to do in order to show independence and conscience? I am sure my child has the ability – but why is he or she so laid back? Should I take the pressure off for a bit? Should I take the pressure off all together? Why am I putting myself under so much pressure?

Years ago friends and family may have suggested therapy and psychoanalysis. Today most parents can twitter or blog their frustrations to the world. They can face book their friends and vent their worries to a wide audience – in the hope of therapeutic help and advice. The couch of the psychoanalysts of Freud’s era has for many been replaced by the prospects and dangers of our current technological world.

“Come now, Eleven Plus Parent. Lie back, place your phone to your ear. Phone a friend. Now close your eyes and think of pleasant things. The sound of water in a stream. The hum of wind in the trees. Your child saying, `Don’t worry mum, I won’t tell dad. I will do my best. I will work hard and pass.’.” You may gently side into oblivion bolstered by your child’s comforting words.

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