As the proud father of 4 beautiful daughters, a recent article engaged my interest for more than a little while. ‘Pushy parents damage teenage girls’ the headline warned ominously. In itself this is hardly a revelation, much less a shock. Too much work and not enough play makes Jill a dull girl. The ‘too much of one thing’ truism is one that applies to almost every facet of humanity. Variety really is the spice of life! What was truly shocking however, is the suggestion by ‘a leading parenting guru’ that pressure from pushy parents “is destroying the mental health of almost every boy and girl caught up in it”. Girls are reportedly suffering more from such pressure than boys are. This is surely to overstate the issue, given that society itself invites some degree of ‘pushiness’ however. In any event it is natural for parents to want their children to do as well as they can, and to help them learn that success does not come without hard work. This is true for even the most talented. Also ‘success’ is almost always defined in terms of academic as well as intellectual excellence, and doing well in exam and tests. Responsible parenting involves encouraging, cajoling and praising our children to ensure that their good becomes better and their better becomes best. That has to be right, doesn’t it?
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