Monday, February 21, 2011

Are We Pushing Our Kids Too Hard?

... or has societal evolution raised the bar for them?

I've just spent an hour going through YouTube videos on overcoming performance anxiety and how to prepare for soccer tryouts. As I did so, I thought about the criticisms of modern parents that we push our kids too hard. I've heard other parents in the stands at games exclaim, "We never had travel baseball when I was growing up. We didn't have club soccer, either!"

Whatever things were like in the past, we have kids' competitive sports leagues now and that's just the way it is. It's an evolution of sorts, people learning how to get better at all ages in all things. For example, we didn't have computers decades ago, so school was a bit easier, particularly engineering curricula. There was less to learn. Now there's more learning, more competition and you have to work harder to achieve success. Sports is no different. It's more sophisticated than ever.

Maybe instead of pushing our kids too hard, what we're doing is reacting to a new reality. I know that for my daughter, her goal of playing high school soccer is unattainable if she doesn't play club ball. I have to push her harder than girls her age were pushed 40 years ago. She has to learn how to succeed in the America of 2011, not some world of the past.

This is not your daughter's swim team.


tim eisele said...

I wouldn't call it "pushing too hard", but I think more is being asked of kids now than it was when I was a kid. My oldest daughter is in kindergarten, and she is already reading words and doing basic addition problems. I don't remember doing that - the most advanced thing I remember from kindergarten was learning to tie my shoes.

K T Cat said...

Tim, I got that feeling as well. I felt like my kids were being asked to sprint right out of the blocks in order to improve aggregate test scores. It all fails, of course, because beating my kids to do better doesn't make the children who come from bad situations perform better.

I think it was just another way to deny the real problem - a breakdown in parental responsibility at a cultural level.

Suburbanbanshee said...

You guys couldn't already read and do math when you got to school? I thought everybody learned those things at home, really.

Re: soccer, of course the alternative is just to tell your kid that it's too expensive and will take too much time away from school and family. My parents couldn't afford band, so I was never in band. Pretty simple; yet playing music is actually a real skill of life, unlike soccer.

My cousins wasted huge amounts of time on soccer, and of course ended up doing a lot of remedial study in college and high school. They also left the church -- and why not, since their parents scheduled church around sports instead of the other way round?

Sports for kids is a total scam.

K T Cat said...

Well, Suburbanbanshee, it looks like we won't be inviting you over to watch the Newcastle - Bolton match.


Anonymous said...

When over 80 percent of college graduates will not find a job in their field, and will spend the rest of there life paying off that debit. While being hounded by creditors,unable to buy a house or car because of it. Its time to reevaluate the whole thing. We should be teaching them, friends and family are more important then the almighty $$ and the ones that made it big, did so, not through hard work, but theft and corruption, and to never look up to them. We need to stop lying to them that hard work and education will get you places. Teaching them these things will ruin their life.

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