Children ‘need pushy parents’ – but do they really?

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I’m being interviewed tomorrow on LBC Radio about “Pushy Parents” as Rosie Millard, the former BBC arts correspondent claims,  in a new BBC Radio 4 programme to be broadcast this week, that middle class mothers and fathers should be proud to be “pushy parents” instead of being embarrassed.

But as a former Deputy Head and Class teacher for over 22 years I’m not convinced. I believe we need to encourage our children to achieve their full potential and not waste their talents but to “push” them implies forcing children to do things that maybe they are not meant to explore.

What springs to mind is the song “Don’t put your daughter on the stage Mrs. Worthington” by Noel Coward where parents are living out their frustrated dreams and unfulfilled goals by putting pressure on their sons and daughters.

Of course I made my kids learn their tables, read their reading book and revise for their exams but I nurtured their talents and asked them what they would like to study or what work they thought they’d like to do for a living.

It means they are happier, more fulfilled and more motivated in the pursuit of THEIR DREAMS, in my opinion.

Millard, a mother-of-four, dismisses claims that pushy parents can damage their children’s emotional and mental health. She says such parents are essential if children are to excel at school and in jobs. Head teachers should embrace such parents instead of criticising them for interfering in their children’s education, she argues.

Millard admits that she is a prime example of the breed, making her four children play a musical instrument from an early age and supervising their practice, and testing their spelling and knowledge of capital cities on the walk to school.  “My parents think I am much too pushy with my kids . . . but we are living in a different era now,” she says.

But I’d love to know what you think?

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