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Raising Children/Schedules! Options
Citiwoman
Posted: Friday, April 3, 2009 12:42:27 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/16/2009
Posts: 31
Neurons: 93
Location: United States
Lately I've been sad about the way kids are spending their childhoods. When school is out, they scatter off to soccer practice, piano lessons and dance class. I know children (in third grade) who have three activities virtually every night. It seems to be a "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality. If Joey from next door practices soccer every day, he might be the star in high school. I'd better send my Jimmy for extra lessons.

My daughter takes violin lessons once per week (for a half an hour), and she enjoys it. As I sit and wait for her, I routinely see a 13-year-old boy crying because he is at the school for two hours every night. He plays several instruments and takes intensive music theory classes. When my daughter became mildly frustrated over a piece, her instructor shot me a look and said, "It's okay. You do the best you can with only one half-hour lesson per week."

My daughter enjoys violin. If she were forced to practice for hours on end, she would not. I want her to be happy, even if it means she doesn't make first chair or play in a world-renowned orchestra.

Why don't people find things fun if they can't be the best?
Luftmarque
Posted: Friday, April 3, 2009 1:05:46 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/17/2009
Posts: 3,119
Neurons: 39,962
Location: Pau, Aquitaine, France
I have absolutely no idea who I would have turned into if my own childhood had not consisted mostly of "nothing to do." I don't think I would have become someone I could like though. One small compensation I have for the fact that my son is growing up overseas and I don't see him everyday is that he is not in an environment that encourages the over-scheduling that seems to have become normal here. I always smile when he updates his status as "bored." If you're never bored then you never have the opportunity to investigate your own resources. As for being the best, if that were a pre-requisite to happiness we'd (almost) all be doomed. Your daughter is fortunate that you put her happiness above full-employment for that ignorant music teacher. Grrr!
WordLover
Posted: Friday, April 3, 2009 10:47:04 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/28/2009
Posts: 40
Neurons: 120
Location: Florida, United States
With all due respect, I thought this was an English language forum. I'm sure there are other forums out there where you can discuss raising children.

I'm truly not intending to be rude, it's just that there are so few good forums that discuss our language, and if we allow other topics in, it degrades the forum.
Ellenrita
Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2010 2:30:36 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/20/2010
Posts: 1,348
Neurons: 3,889
Location: CANADA - Toronto
With all due respect lots of subjects are discussed on this forum then resorted later.
kisholoy mukherjee
Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2010 3:10:59 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/31/2009
Posts: 3,729
Neurons: 7,777
Location: here and there
Oh parents!
uuaschbaer
Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2010 3:28:42 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/18/2009
Posts: 1,928
Neurons: 6,180
Vision 1: The parents who compel children to excel at anything are letting the children live the parents' dreams vicariously.
Vision 2: The parents who compel children to excel at anything are using them as status symbols or trophies, if you will.
Vision 3: I'm just jealous.
risadr
Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2010 4:42:56 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/16/2009
Posts: 1,155
Neurons: 3,545
Location: PA, United States
As a child, I was a girl scout from the time I was in the second grade until I was in seventh grade. My troop met once a week, for two hours. We did activities at the meetings and in the community. We participated in activities with other troops, as well.

When I started middle school, I started playing the bassoon. My mother hired a private teacher for me, and I took one half-hour music lesson once a week, right after school. When I was in seventh grade, I was the one who made the decision to give up being a girl scout in favor of focusing on my music. I decided to pick up a second instrument (flute), so that I could participate in marching band. In eighth grade, I decided to pick up a third musical instrument (baritone saxophone), so that I could participate in jazz band. By that point, I had three half-hour music lessons each week, of my own scheduling, and I was involved in a private youth orchestra, where I was first chair bassoon.

In high school, I was active in marching band, orchestra, Key Club, GSA, drama club, and I worked full time, starting shortly after my sixteenth birthday. I was also an honor student, and enrolled in several advanced placement classes. Every activity that I was involved in was by my own choice.

Not all over-scheduled children are over-scheduled because of their parents. I won awards in almost all of my activities beginning in seventh grade, recognizing me for "best performance under pressure." I, personally, think that no child under the age of 12 should be involved in more than one extra-curricular activity at a time, but once they hit jr. high, they should be allowed to make their own decisions, with the guidance of their parents.
peterhewett
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 2:10:02 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/15/2009
Posts: 2,452
Neurons: 3,698
Location: In my head
This is a very good post Citiwoman, aptly put under General knowledge, and pertinent. I think many

parents must share your concern. I have raised two children and was always careful, at least I tried to be, to see that they

were not under undue pressure. I too, at times, was concerned at what seemed to be hetic life for my children. It is

always hard to strike a balance isn't it, and as parents we only get one shot at it. I let my kids follow their heart when

it came to extra-curricular matters, as long as it was kept in balance. As parents we are sure to make mistakes don't you

think, but where there is love and affection it will cover all. Children remember home life more than anything, and a warm

and close environment will have a lasting affect never to be forgotten, won't it. I don't think there is a formula, since

all children are different, aren't they and some thrive under pressure while others wilt... not that that is a negative

thing. I think you should follow your feelings as parents and ignore folk like the music teacher, who after all has a one

dimensional viewpoint of the welfare of your child and what is best for her. Happy parenting.
.
HWNN1961
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 10:05:50 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/13/2010
Posts: 3,494
Neurons: 9,763
Please let children find themselves! They are not an extension of their parents' egos.

If you are spending time with your child, you know her/his interests. Cultivate them, without turning this exploration of potential talents into drudgery! Encourage your child to be curious, to try new things, and to pursue those things that are of interest. To the child, not to the parent.

Childhood should have some very long periods of unstructured playtime. Let the imagination develop. I can recall as a kid exploring woods, catching frogs, just wandering around. Playing make believe games. Yes, little league baseball...but, it was only 2 practises a week plus a game on weekends. The rest of the time my parents allowed me to be a kid.

Please let your children find themselves. With guidance as necessary, but, not with rigid structure.
Raparee
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 10:10:50 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/17/2009
Posts: 1,228
Neurons: 18,102
Honestly, I think it's great that you're putting her enjoyment of the violin over the must-be-best mentality. My parents allowed us to pick up and/or drop whatever we liked and we learned a lot that way. My neighbor had several children who were forced to study till the time they went to bed and while they were bright and made good grades, I was always worried they would burn out so fast. I don't want to do that to my children. An environment that allows the children to explore is one far more conducive to learning than one that forces children to study and practice. I still love to learn things.
kisholoy mukherjee
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 10:11:42 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/31/2009
Posts: 3,729
Neurons: 7,777
Location: here and there
HWNN1961 wrote:
Please let children find themselves! They are not an extension of their parents' egos.

If you are spending time with your child, you know her/his interests. Cultivate them, without turning this exploration of potential talents into drudgery! Encourage your child to be curious, to try new things, and to pursue those things that are of interest. To the child, not to the parent.

Childhood should have some very long periods of unstructured playtime. Let the imagination develop. I can recall as a kid exploring woods, catching frogs, just wandering around. Playing make believe games. Yes, little league baseball...but, it was only 2 practises a week plus a game on weekends. The rest of the time my parents allowed me to be a kid.

Please let your children find themselves. With guidance as necessary, but, not with rigid structure.


Ditto.
ssf
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 11:09:54 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/20/2009
Posts: 63
Neurons: 192
Location: United States
When my children were small (now 27 & 25) they were allowed 2 activities per year - scouts, sports, music, dance, gymnastics, whatever. They had to finish the season they started, before they could decide to move on. When they became teenagers they were allowed more choices and at times had 4 or 5 things going on, as well as after school and summer jobs. The only stipulation was that they keep their grades in the A-B range. My thing was "You don't have to be THE BEST, you have to do YOUR BEST." They seem to have turned out OK, both went to college, are employed, happily married, and call mom every week or more.
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