‘My parents were not strict…now I’m mediocre’

Sometimes, sometimes you’re not sure whether someone is joking or deadly, heartbreakingly, serious.

Recently I observed a debate on schooling – how strict parents should be with children, and whether tutoring in the primary years is good or bad.

There seem to be two extremes to this debate:

1) Be strict, put your kids in tutoring early, early homework is mandatory, as are activities like learning musical instruments and additional languages. Unstructured activities are limited during the week.

2) Relax in the primary years, learn largely through play early on, no after-school tutoring, minimal homework, expose kids to hobbies but no forcing them to keep on if they don’t want to.

I fall (largely) into the second camp. I refuse to make my children work, work, work when they are small….because I genuinely do not believe there is any point.

A parent’s job, I believe, is to guide, not force. Insisting your child spends a hour on piano practice every day is not going to turn him into a concert pianist. Hours of extra tuition does not mean your kid will thrive at a top university.

Why? Because to excel in a field – and I believe everyone excels at something, academic or otherwise – you have to want to do it. And if you want to do it no-one has to make you.

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