Parents! Don’t try to make adults out of your 8 year olds

acThough this is a very broad topic and applicable in a lot of scenarios, I am restricting the scope to scenarios observed during enrichment sessions.

It is not uncommon to see parents taking an active interest in their childs learning and progress in afterschool activities. This is good and helps in ensuring the child is getting the desired benefits. However, as part of this, parents sometimes tend to have unrealistic expectations on the application of the learning. For example, let’s say the 8 year old child has learned about gears and it’s mechanical advantage as part a session. I have seen parents asking the child “How will you use gears to solve other problems”. This is a very open question for even adults to answer. When the child starts to explain the project, the parent asks “what did you to learn if you can’t answer this!”. I guess the parent is expecting a mature and adult-like reply from the child. What they miss is the child perspective at that point in time. Other similar cases include telling the child that the experiment was so easy or small. Maybe for an adult it may look easy, but once you get down to doing, it’s definitely not easy. 

Another scenario is bombarding the child with information, which can be appreciated only by knowledgeable adults. This, I guess, is intended to give the child an edge above the rest. The result, child talking about some science concept without any perspective and context about it. I think there is only so much a child of a certain age can understand about the theory of relativity Smile. Then there are the parents who would actually have an elaborate question & answer session right then at the centre, which leaves the child miserable throughout the session in fear of the Q&A at the end of the session. This kind of pressure not only discourages that child from attending further sessions, but also make them feel low on self esteem.

I think that “some” parents want the child to be 10 yrs more knowledgeable than other kids, may be. But realistically It works better for the child if they are given enough freedom to explore open ended pursuits without having to answer for it!



Popular Posts