Tag Archives: parenting

Is Piling On The Pressure Affecting Our Children?

The amount of pressure on the shoulders of our children and young people is a big concern of mine. Finding the right balance between encouraging my children to do their best but not pushing them too hard is something I think about (read: panic about) quite frequently.

Thinking back to my own childhood and teen years, there was so much pressure to study and do well, that by the time I got to my GCSEs – the time where things were actually beginning to matter – I was just tired. I stopped caring. Again and again, I had been told that this or that exam was so important, only to find out that really, it wasn’t. So why should I care this time around? It was only becoming pregnant with my first that gave me the drive to try and do well again.

I know that schools are under a lot of pressure to get good results for statistics and tables purposes. It’s not their fault. The fault is with the entire system. Schools are supposed to be put under pressure to ensure the children are being educated well. It’s for the children’s sake! But this has become so warped over time that now the pressure is being passed onto the children, and that is, in my opinion, detrimental to their wellbeing.

So, what sparked this rant?

Last weekend, Frog was sick. She threw up quite spectacularly several times, and was most certainly not herself. She did not eat for a whole day, and she spent most of her time sleeping. As a result, I kept her off school until she had stopped spewing vomit and managed to eat and keep down a couple of decent meals. I let her school know why she wouldn’t be attending. On Thursday, she managed to go in, well fed and feeling herself again. She bounced off, happy to go back and catch up with her friends. When she was walking back home with Curly Dad, she confided in him that she felt disappointed, because while the other children had been enjoying films to celebrate the end of term, she had been given work to catch up on that the other students had done earlier in the week. Curly Dad cleverly spun it be saying that when she had been at home she had been able to watch TV while her friends had been working at school, which made Frog feel a bit better.

My feelings on it were mixed.

I think it’s important that children learn good discipline from a fairly young age and get into good habits. Later on in life, she will be required to catch up on study/work regardless of whether she was sick or not. However, it was the end of term and the other students were enjoying films, and I can’t help but think that at five years of age she shouldn’t have to feel excluded in the way that she did. There is the possibility, of course, that she is not telling the full story. There have been times when she has done this in the past (unintentionally). So perhaps it wasn’t so bad, but it has had me thinking on this issue all the same. I don’t think that at her age she should have missed out on anything. If there was something she needed to catch up on, they could have sent it home with her to do over the Easter break.

I don’t baby my children. I expect a lot from them in terms of good behaviour, manners and consideration of others. I expect them to be mature, kind, good little people. They are children, though, and it fills me with dread the thought that in a few years time there will just be more and more pressure placed on them by school to study, by society to fit in. It’s one of the few times that I wish I could just hold them close to me and hide them from the world forever.

Does this sort of pressure worry you? What do you do to ensure your children are encouraged but not weighed down?

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Where Has My Baby Gone?

Last weekend, Frog was invited to a sleepover at her friends house. It was the first time that this has happened. She and Curly Dad wrapped up a present for the friend, who I shall call P, and I packed up all the things she would need into a little bag, along with a list of the things and all our contact details just in case. Naturally, Frog was hugely excited, bouncing around each day last week chirping ‘X days until I stay at P’s house!’

I was not so sure about it all. In fact, I was quite terrified. It would be the first time she had stayed away from family. What if she was lonely or frightened? What if she was ill? How had she grown up so fast? I comforted myself with the thought that P lives only a five minute walk away from our house, and told Frog (probably about fifteen or so times) that she could call at ANY time if she wanted to, for any reason.

So I dropped her off at P’s house, and came back home. We ate our evening meal, relaxed, and I put Bird to bed. It was a strange feeling, doing all these normal, everyday things without Frog being there. Bird wasn’t quite sure what to do without her sister around, which was quite heart-breaking as she kept asking when she was coming back, but also heart-warming to see how much she loves her sister and wanted her to come home and play again.

I eventually went to bed with my phone nearby just in case Frog called, but she didn’t. I went to pick her up after lunch the next day, and in the five minute journey back, Frog laughed, smiled, stropped and cried, and then went back to smiling again – definitely a tired little girl! She fell asleep on the sofa shortly after we got home. She seemed to have had a good time, tiredness aside, but was also glad to be back home. I was definitely glad to have her back home with us!

It’s funny, before I became a parent, I imagined myself as a chilled-out mum, never too worried, never too stressed. How wrong I was! I think when we become parents, we also become worriers, nomatter how chilled we were before. Children are too precious not to worry about!

So, have your children ever stayed away from home? How did you feel the first time they did?

Harvest Festival

So yesterday was Harvest Festival for my eldest, Frog. We took her to school and then walked to the local church where they were holding it. Soon enough, along came the children and we went into the church. After a brief kerfuffle trying to put out extra seats, the festival began with a small child shouting ‘Welcome to our harvest festival!’ It took me back to my own childhood, where classes would take turns to present an assembly on a Friday morning. We would practice for weeks before hand, projecting our voices to the back of the hall and making sure we knew our lines and songs just so. Frog had been practising her songs, warbling about combine harvesters, and she wasn’t the only one, judging by the amount of little brothers and sisters joining in as the school children sang. They sang beautifully and I was so proud of Frog. She looked so nervous at times but she sang along and seemed really happy that we’d come to see what she was doing. She was so excited that she forgot to sit down when her class song finished as she was too busy waving at us. Bird kept shouting ‘hello!’ too, but there were lots of other little ones there and nobody seemed bothered by a little noise. All in all it was a lovely assembly and everybody seemed to enjoy it a lot.

I couldn’t help but feel quite offended though, when the vicar gave his speech. It was about growing as people and nurturing our children, which is lovely, but I wasn’t happy with the way he said it. He said things about people thinking ‘it’s time to go to church, but I need to do the shopping instead’ or ‘it’s time to pray with my children, but Eastenders is on’ and as a result the children not being nurtured. So is he suggesting that I don’t care about my children, that I don’t spend time with them, educating them, nurturing them and showing them love, just because I choose not to raise them in a faith? I understand if that’s how he feels, that we were in his place of worship and that he probably doesn’t speak for most people, but I would never think to suggest that a person wasn’t doing right by their children because of their religious views (whether they follow a faith or not). I wasn’t very pleased with it being insinuated that people that do not raise their children Christian are lazy and uncaring. Am I wrong to be a bit upset by this?

I don’t mean any offence to anybody with this post, it’s just that I’m a bit sad at somebody thinking badly of myself and my parenting.