Monday, December 29, 2008

Parental/Peer pressure on children

I just now read this article where a girl of 9 years becomes the youngest person to become Microsoft Certified Professional. And immediately my thoughts were "WOW!" When I thought of myself at that age I realized we were too busy playing stapu, reading famous fives and watching Telematch to be doing anything so intellectually driven.

Then my next thought went to the "parental pressure" to perform high in academics. Lot has been said about it, more in the negative way, and how its not a good thing, the long term psychological impact etc etc. At the same time I feel without a bit of parental pressure, we kids would not have even picked up a book to study. We would have been playing and whiling away our time. Its the parents who need to push us to study. Without this push I wonder if most of us would have reached where we are today. And its also the parents who figure out if their child has the capability of doing something outstanding and to provide means and support and sometimes even put a bit of pressure for the kids to take on the roads like this little girl did.

But this doesn't mean that I'm pro parental/peer pressure. There has to be a balance. In this era we as parents need to constantly guide our kids into focusing on studies more than what was required earlier because of the amount of distractions such as internet, movies, over use of cellphones etc is there. Arriving at this fine balance of studies and extra curricular activities is the toughest part. I really don't know if I will be able to strike any bit closer to this balance even though I would definitely be trying consciously.

We parents also get pressurized by the peer to further pressurize our kids to perform. "Ohh my child can do this and that etc" and that gets us to think lowly of our kid if he/she cannot do the same. And then we tend to push our kids to be at par with the child of our peer group.

I faced this a lot when we got Anirudh admitted to formal school. Everyone was asking us why are we losing 1 year and why are we getting him admitted in Nursery instead of KG. First of all I didn't have a choice, thanks to the chaos caused by rules changing every year. I agree I was under the pressure and kept thinking of how can I avoid this loss of a year. After many sleepless nights I realized, it doesn't matter. Its just fine. Its only one year. He has a full life ahead of him and if he turns out to be extraordinary brilliant and super intelligent I will see if he needs to be promoted to a higher class. But not now. Let him be in Nursery. And after 10 months I'm happy that I took this decision.

And not so long ago, when we were called to see their half yearly progress reports, I didn't go to see how has he been graded, has he scored well or not. Nopes. I just wanted to talk to his teacher if he has been enjoying school and not being a brat. That's it. With my daily conversations with Anirudh I knew he has been picking a lot of new stuff from school and I was happy with his progress. But when I saw parents of kids in nursery and KG discussing and comparing the grades of their wards, I realized this is what the parental pressure is. And this is what I definitely don't want to be doing. I just smiled to myself and walked away.

I don't know if I'm making any sense here but I hope you see the point I'm trying to make.


  1. Yea.. you are so right. Without Parental Pressure, we might not have studied!! But, the balance is very important...
    Yea, your point is very clear... I do agree with on the fact that I would want my kid to be happy first. :)

  2. you do make a lot of sense,... and i hope i can be as level headed as you whn it comes to my future kids... i want them to enjoy their school life..

  3. a lovely post! It all makes sense and it is all very clear. But, i don't like the word parental pressure somehow, this phrase itself sounds so negative, doesn't it?
    I feel he is much too young right now that you worry about it. This is the "parental pressure" you are putting on him that you are letting him develop his creative side rather than make him sit at the table all the time and learn, which will be the case soon, as you said.

  4. YOu are making perfect sense & I am completely in agreement with you. I pity parents who get tution teachers at such young ages to help tehir kids know more academics than the rest of the kids in class.

  5. ...and that is what makes you the coolest mom, the prettiest mom, Remember that picture?

  6. Of course ! The heavy satchel and the long report cards are draining our education system. We have been producing competitive and insensitive kids. And it doesnt take God to know what they will grow up as...!

    And then we blame politicians, MNCs, NGOs, Pakistan, ABGAR, LMNOP..etc etc..!!

    we need to look inward !

    Cool post !!

  7. i think guding kids is NOT parental pressure.

    it becomes pressure when we are trying to push them to do more than they can or trying to live our dreams through them.

    am sure Anirudh wont have to face any parental pressure! :)



  8. I'm glad you're not part of the herd.

    On the other hand, I don't think it's because my parents told me to study that I did well in school. On the contrary, they never ever told me or my sister to study. But well, those times were different and our school didn't burden us with reams and reams of pages of homework! Optimum pressure, for anything, is the best way to get results.

    Sorry for rambling on like this :(

  9. Hey !!!

    You make absolute dad never forced us to study, he said do what you feel inclined to but do it well....and I havent turned out very bad.

    I used to see classmates shiver at the thought of showing their report cards to dad or mom and in the process do things like copying signatures etc.

    Anirudh will thank you for the restraint and balance you are me.

  10. This is such a confusing topic, even after my children are well settled, i am not sure what is right, though they keep telling me that i dd right to push them a little, otherwise they wudnt be there where they are.
    I u have said ther eshould be a balance..parents must take the role of guiode...telling them all the options and the consequences of their choices, and let them take the decision..of course its for teenagers, for small kids, there must not be any targets or ambitions...they should fly like free birds in whichever direction they ultimately find their choices.

    came here from Pixie.

  11. happy new year... i have something for u at my blog... please come over

  12. absolutely right... there should be a moral limit to parental pressure.. u see the burdens kids go through today.. sure the world is growing at leaps and bounds but how much of a kids life can u sacrifice away in the name of "creating a genius"