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3.20.2009

Report Cards And Their Influence On Parenting

I never got bad grades so I never feared report card days, but I can see where it would cause stress for some kids. I say this because even with Alyssa's near perfect report card (on Friday the 13th ;) I still felt myself transform from Calm Mommy (ahhhhhh) to Type A Mommy.

Now in my own defense, I don't think it's a bad thing to examine your child's area of weakness (in her case "oral", as in: speaking French in class), and try to help her improve. However if it weren't for the report card, I more than likely would have left it alone and given her a chance to grow into more confidence.

Here's the dilemma: kids are individuals, with their own rates of progress in various subjects. There is a certain amount of benefit in catering to that, and letting a child grow into areas of aptitude (as in, they'll learn when they're ready). If they're ready on their own terms, learning is faster, more likely to stick, and a lot less stressful.

On the other hand, real life just isn't like that! There is equal value in gently nudging (shove! ;) a child out of his/her comfort zone and stretching their learning boundaries, so that they're better equipped to deal with the demands of reality once they leave the safety of the nest.

(Sigh! Reality at the age of 6? Sheesh)

In the end, I did the "shove" thing with Alyssa and her oral shortcomings. I pressured her and forced her (specifically: we did some reading out loud). I struggled with the question of am I helping her, or creating a bad experience? After her initial resistance, she gushed with excitement about how easy it is once you try, and how much better she felt.

phew

What about you - how do you handle a teacher's critique of your child? This is such an open ended question because every scenario is slightly different, and no single response is appropriate all the time. It's a case by case judgement call, and as parents we simply do the best we can.
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3 comments:

Jaina said...

I'm glad she got a good report card. I'm jealous that she's learning French so early! Have a great weekend! (I don't have anything to share for your question since I have no kids)

Amber said...

I've only dealt with one instance of a teacher critiquing my child. In that case my kid was 3 and her preschool teacher said she wasn't as advanced with her writing as some of the other 3-year-olds. Then the teacher suggested she would progress more quickly if we sent her full-time instead of part-time.

Because we were talking about a very young child I was really turned off and we eventually left that preschool. I was more worried about turning my kid off of learning than having a writing prodigy. I might make a different choice with an older child, though, who has reached a more reasonable age.

Jeanne Elle said...

Jaina - me too! I learned French in high school, and already her pronounciation is way better than mine. Young ears and a young brain just "get it". It's very cool!

Amber - I would have done the same thing (leave the preschool) - three is young to be picky about writing. Now if they were talking about speech, for example, that's different because it could indicate a hearing problem. But writing at three? If they like it, great, if not, leave it alone, I say. School should be ALL fun when they're that young.

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