There are some pushy parents out there, it’s true. Parents who will not give up, give in or give out regarding their number one priority. It must also be true that some kids flourish under that kind of scrutiny, reaching the heights of classroom achievement and flying as high as kids can.
I reckon that some kids won’t flourish, however, when faced with parental effort to ensure the highest levels of academic attainment. Probably most kids won’t flourish under that kind of pressure, they’ll muddle along somewhere in the middle of their cohort with occasional bounces toward the top and the bottom.
Uncompromising focus on your kid’s achievements always seemed to me, as a result, to be counterproductive in both the long and short term. Kids who thrive under pressure, if they turn out not to be Stephen Hawking or Joseph Stiglitz, will eventually realise that despite all their efforts that school results mean very little and stop needing (or wanting) the approving pat on the head. Those kids will work out their results aren’t important, they are.
Similarly kids who don’t thrive and struggle through the years of classroom labour will either come to the conclusion that their not stellar results don’t matter much or they will pursue a course that chases the approving pat on the head for the rest of their lives. Achievement becomes a star individuals steer toward, or not. Either way it is a false heading.
To my way of thinking though achievement is a furphy: it isn’t how successful a child (or an adult) is that counts, it is that they are a person. As parents it is easy to get caught up in the drive toward key performance indicators and the outcomes our children enable us to talk about proudly but those indicators don’t count for diddly squat because being a person isn’t a performance: we just are.
And that, for all, is enough.