Pushing your kids

June 7, 2009 Uncategorized 12



I was recently at a friends house. This friend is moving out of state and while packing and cleaning she had asked people to just stop by and say bye one last time, get a hug, all that stuff. So the kids and I stopped by, her daughter and Adrienne had played 2 years of travel ball together and we’d shared a lot of good times, a few drinks and great stories. We’ve sort of drifted apart but she is still a great friend, and I’ll miss her.
One of her neighbors is a woman I know. She once coached my girls in swimming when they swam competitively at about age 8 and 9. X is a nice enough woman, but intense. We were chatting, she said she almost didn’t recognize the girls, wow had they grown. She has two children of her own, a son @ 13 and a daughter @ 11. She asked where the girls are attending HS and I told her and she said she’d really like her kids to attend this school, great math department. I agreed, and then she went in the most bizzare direction. X began to tell me how advanced her kids are in math, how by the time they reach 9th grade they will have both completed Algebra 2 honors(my girls did this as sophomores, and they came to HS with their Algebra 1 grade) Entering HS with that much math completed is very advanced, but not impossible I guess. Her kids are currently at a charter school(she tells me since I didn’t know, didn’t really care..lol).
X just doesnt’ stop. She tells me they have been in contact with Cornell, and have asked what math they want to see complete by end of college. She continues on bantering about the advantages of CC dual enrollment vs AP classes, and I just sort of nod and I’m looking for a way out of this conversation. I ask why she’s not considering one of the advanced HS schools of choice in our district or the one that has the IB program, she told me something, honestly I am tuned out. I did tell her that I’m a firm believer in letting kids just be HS students. I don’t discourage any advanced classes, but I do think that college can wait for college(don’t hate me).

Then, she did it, she did this right in front of me when I didn’t see it coming……….she turned to my girls, who were also looking for a way out, and asked them, “so where are you going to college and what are you studying?”. When Caitie looked at her and said she has an interest in Math, Engineering and maybe architecture, but only knows she does not want to attend any of the large state schools, X looked at her like she had 3 heads! She was appauled and aghast that they haven’t made a choice. I wanted to slap this woman silly. I blessedly did find a way out, when another woman told us her son was getting scholarship offers for college in 7th grade…………stop people!!!

Why, oh dear lord, why are some people trying to push their kids so so hard? I was an average to above average student in HS and in college, I changed my major in college, do you think I was alone? Heck no……….many people do this. When you are 16 or even 18 it’s difficult to say, I want to do this job forever. Those that know what they want are lucky, and even those may have a change of heart as I did.

I get nervous thinking about college for my girls, the cost, the reality that they must really do it all on their own. I get nervous about choosing schools, applying, getting in, paying for it, did I say that twice, well it deserves it. I’m listening to others who are parenting like age children and I know that this next year is a time for narrowing the field from any school in the US to ok, what is realistic and where do really want to attend. We’ll work it all out, I have no doubt, but I refuse to push, to convince them to what I want, because in the end, it’s not my education or my career or my life.

The images above, my alma mater, The University of Missouri-Columbia…………and imagine, I loved it and didn’t have it all planned out at 13~!

Images courtesy of google images.

12 Responses to “Pushing your kids”

  1. linda

    Oh my goodness that mom needs to get a life, seriously! I think we are all pushy moms with our kids, but to a certain extent. She clearly goes overboard and boy are those mothers not fun to be around. Kids need to be kids…and moms need to let them be!

  2. Pam

    Oh boy, could I have field day with this post. Just let me say this – THIS is exactly what’s wrong with HS today. TOO MUCH PRESSURE! And yes I am SCREAMING! I bet her kids do EXTRA summer reading too. It’s moms like this make the rest of us worry that we’re not doing or pushing enough. They make me question myself all the time. They make me measure my kids against their (ridiculous) measuring stick and worry that my kids are not measuring up. This is why I stopped volunteering in my kids’ schools years ago. “I” couldn’t take the pressure anymore. Since when did LIFE itself become a competition? How do we put a stop to it?

  3. Crazy Mom of Three

    It baffles me too when I hear that stuff about early Algebra, etc. I guess these options for getting a lot of college out of the way early are good for the parents cost wise. I am not convinced it doesn’t take away from the joy of childhood on some level. I do believe there are kids who would thrive with that kind of program, but I know more whose parents enjoy knowing their kids can do that work and their kids have more homework than others, etc. I agree that parents shouldn’t push about college majors, only offer support or suggestions, etc. Also, even if you love your college major you might burn out later on in that field and want to do something else … I did and I know others who don’t love what they do 20 years later either and want to do something else now. That is why I think the child should choose … with some guidance ideally, if needed.

  4. Casey

    My hubby and i have talked about this and we do feel school is important but we don’t want to add pressure to our kids that isn’t necessary. We feel that there is nothing wrong with average. Why is a 7 grader worrying about college? Just let them be little while they can. Ugh, I have more to say but am frustrated

  5. Alex the Girl

    Anita, if you’re doing something wrong, then I’m doing something wronger (incorrect grammer use intended). I strongly believe in letting kids be kids while they can; the world isn’t going anywhere and will be ready for them soon enough. We aren’t pushing pushing pushing anything but a decent GPA to help with college admission/acceptance/etc. HS is suppose to be the time they can look back on with fond memories. Here’s to being in the same boat. /clink /cheers.

  6. Beth

    Okay… I feel compelled to comment…first off I agree with what you are saying about the mom pushing her young children…what the heck is her deal? I don’t even think 18 years old are really totally equipped to decide their future…their brains are not totally developed until early 20’s…but the part of not doing college stuff while in HS??? Why? Laura did and it saved us almost one year of tuition… and trust me that is A LOT of money to someone living on the average income. As you know…our HS offers IB but that isn’t the answer for everyone… the same with AP classes… they are all options…in my opinion all those programs are the same as going to a CC… if not harder. Laura continued playing sports…3 seasons…went to parties (God forbid..worked etc) She continues to be a 3.6 student and doing fine. We didn’t push her into it…she brought it to us…she was bored @ the HS… Just my two cents worth

  7. sheila

    I agree with you. Out of three kids, they’re all pretty good in school but one excels in math. Same situation as the kid in your post only I’m not thinking so far ahead, lol. He picks his courses and knows what he can do. I never push. They know what they can handle. X sounds a bit anal.

  8. Bonnie

    Oh Anita, I agree with you 100%. I see so many people pushing their kids and worrying about every little thing, even in grade school. I’m a firm believer that if you give you kids the love and security they need and let them find their passion without being forced, they will and they will be just fine. I often think people that push their kids in academics sometimes miss out on just teaching and showing them how to be good human beings. Thank you for sharing this. It was very refreshing!

  9. Tooj

    I was SOOOOO with you…about it all…until….*gasp*…you said MU. I’m a Jayhawk. And to think, we had such high hopes for being blog buddies. πŸ˜‰
    (In all seriousness, it’s great if her kids’ accelerated learning works for THEM, but it’s certainly a conversation for private chats. I wouldn’t bring in up at a social gathering such as this.)

  10. Lisa

    Oh brother. You know what we’ve been struggling with the last few months regarding the Dancer’s choices. Money was the deciding factor, plain and simple. She went through the IB program here of her own accord, but it was rough and I don’t know if she’d do it again.

    The best advice I could give her regarding career was to think of life in segments. What do you want to do in your 20s? If you want to get married and have kids, develop a lifestyle and career that will best support that and leave time for you, too. If you want to travel and have a nice apt and cool car, get a well-paying job, hold off on marriage and kids. That kind of thing.

    The idea that anyone can decide at 18 what they want to do for their whole life is crazy. And frankly, the college one goes to doesn’t matter much when it comes to the job search, according to my friends in HR.

  11. Tammy Howard

    Good heavens – it starts with potty training and it never ends. If this works for her family – well – good on ’em, I guess – but it sure wouldn’t work for mine and I wouldn’t want it to!

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