LET THEM BE LITTLE! Pushing kids to grow up too fast

Meg - posted on 10/23/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My son is 5. He just started kindergarten this year. He is my only child. It's really hitting me hard that everyone and everything is trying to make me push him to grow up too fast. He has multiple subjects of homework everynight, his teacher told me "we need to work on his independence", "he asks for help too much". My fiance and my mom are both pushing these things too. I just feel like society is wanting our children to learn too much too fast, and grow up too fast and not letting them actually be kids!! It's ridiculous! No wonder we have teens with so many issues, they were never allowed to have a childhood. Kids today are expected to start working on "what they're going to do with their life" straight out of the freaking womb! UGGHHH!!! any advice or ne one feeling the same way please

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[deleted account]

I also have a 5 year old in Kindergarten, also an only child, but I am also an educator. Been in the classroom for 15 years now. While I don't disagree with you about letting kids "be kids" the sad reality is that American kids are statistically behind in the global competition. Trust me, my 5 year old is a kid. I do not push a boat load of "extras" on him in any way. I tend to disregard the worksheets sent home and create my own material. He is a natural learner and thrives in an academic setting, which hubby & I reinforce at home. We do lots of exploratory, nature, science experiements, homeschooling over the summer. But he also attended an amazing pre-school prior to Kinder for creative play and early learning. Here's the facts: Kids are not graduating high school prepared to compete with their peers from other countries, and from across our own country. I currently teach high school. I also taught at the middle school level for years, and even a few years at the elementary level. It's the trickle down effect, and it does start at Kindergarten. If a child is unable to learn the Kinder curriculum, then he/she will struggle. Kinder is about play, BUT at the same time it is NOT babysitting. Kinder IS about learning basic curriculum that will develop the building blocks for success later on. Yes, we are asking our kids to grow up, and fast. In 15 years from now, I want my son to have the same opportunities that children from Finland, China, or Japan have at the same rigorous educational level. Again, the sad reality is that in Americam education is not pushed high up on a pedastal like some other countries. Kids today do need to work a little bit harder than we might have had to work when we were in school. But here's the nice part: as a parent, you are also in control of your child's eduction. You can change schools-private or charter. The link above might give you a great alternative. You can homeschool. You can supplement your child's education in so many ways. But also know that children learn at different paces. Some kids simply thrive at an additional year of pre-school prior to Kindergarten, OR an additional year of Kindergarten prior to 1st grade. All the best to you.

Candy - posted on 10/23/2010

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YOUR child. You are a good mother and You are doing fine. My 6 year is in 1st grade and she only has one paper a night. My 5 year has only one paper a night. I would wonder why they giving him so much work. They want be kids for long I say let him be a kid.He has a laugh time to work hard and wonder about the future. It is hard though once they are in school away from you. He may need a different teacher. She may not have the patiences he needs in a teacher. If he is "bothering "her you might want to find someone who understands him better.

Carla - posted on 10/23/2010

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Yes, Meg, I feel the same way. We were given a list of accomplishments our grandson had to be able to accomplish before he starts kindergarten! Pardon me, I thought kindergarten was supposed to teach them! We have tried having 'school' on their days with us, but he and his 3 y/o sister want to play dinosaurs and house, not writing and numbers!

Have you given any thought to homeschooling him? If my circumstances would have allowed, I would have homeschooled mine, but I worked from the time they were tiny, out of necessity. There are so many resources out there online to help you through, it's not like you're out on the ocean all alone. And, if you live in a town of any size, there are other moms that you can have playdates with, and they can (at least in Michigan) participate on the school teams, so they aren't being deprived of organized sports.

God bless, honey, being a parent is sometimes frustrating! Give serious thought to what you want for your little guy.

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[deleted account]

Let kids be kids, of course, but they should be learning how to be independent outside of the home. Teachers aren't secondary parents and don't have the time or resources to help children who can otherwise do the activity on their own. I also disagree that having children learn a lot means that they can no longer be a child. A child doesn't have to be dependent on their parents for everything to be a kid. Losing your childhood is less about (school) learning and more about experiencing (adult) things.

That being said, why do kindergarteners have homework? My kids started when they were 4 (every Dutch child starts ON their 4th birthday) and never had homework for at least 5 years, home flashcard practice notwithstanding.

Carla - posted on 10/25/2010

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I agree with Danielle. When my grandson was in the 3rd grade, he came to me and asked, 'Grammy, which would you rather--have a car or clean air?' Now guess where he would get something like that? I told him if his mother didn't have a car, she couldn't earn a living, and he wouldn't have food, so clean air would be a non-issue!



We are teaching global neighborhoods and ecology--they are, to me, electives, and should not take time away from reading (most adults can't read at adult level), science, math, and also computers, as this is the way of the future/present. Our middle school was teaching our children to meditate, only they, of course, didn't call it that. 45 minutes was taken out of class time to 'clear their minds'. I was not sufficiently spiritual at the time to understand what they were doing. Now it makes me shudder! And this was 20 years ago! What are they teaching now?



I understand wanting your children to have a good job, but is that the only thing you have expectations for? What about their morals, family values, ability to relax, remembering what it's like to be a kid? I watch the parents nowadays and they are so stressed out getting their kids to every sport activity, music lessons, karate, and there is NO home time, no down time. This is hard on parents as well as kids.



Paul said do everything in moderation. I believe that is very wise. If we use a little moderation and common sense in our childrens' lives, it will reward both us and them.



God bless, darlings, I know raising children is rough! Hang in there!

Meg - posted on 10/25/2010

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Thankx soo much to everyone who replied. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one out there who feels this way. I also wanted to say that I really am all about giving my son all the advantages he can get when it comes to education, i want him to have as many options as possible when it comes to carrers and what he wants to do with his life because I want him to be happy and not just be stuck in something. I also have seen and experienced the effects of parents doing absolutely everything for their children and not making them do anything for themselves. These kids end up growing up being so dependent on their parents they have no clue what to do out in the real world where it's either you do for yourself or it doesn't get done. These kids are just set up for failure. I just believe that we shouldn't ignore the fact that being a kid is also part of growing up and I think that nurturing "childhood" and playing and having fun time to explore and be creative, is just as important as nurturing their education and independence. I just feel like the scale is being tipped way too far in one direction. Please keep the replies coming I like to see all opinions

Danielle - posted on 10/24/2010

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yes i have the same issue but my child dose not have a mountain of homework but i believe sosiaty is pushing kids to grow up way to famy only child started prep this year and when i found out what they r expected to do in there first year of school i was stunned they r bloody kids for goodness sake and lets face it childhood is brief as it is and they need to be children and have and enjoy there child hood whilst they have it, coz they grow up so fast and will miss so much ploughing through life like a train its just not right,
r they setting them up to succeed or to fail by giving them too much and overloading them.
i believe that society is robbing todays children of there child hood school is a night mare,
my daughter hates it, and she is only in prep.
my sister is currently expecting my 6 year old niece to be an adult, last week she sent her 6 year old daughter into the post office to ask the post office if she can set up a stall outside the post office after schoo lto sell eggs for $5 per dosen on her own.!!
of course she was told no by the post office which caused my niece to a massive tantrum in the main st but 6 year old charlee was told that she could by her mum and had been convinced that it was easy and that she would be allowed to sell eggs to the public on her own after school normal ppl wouldnt have there 12 year olds do that lett alone a 6 year old prep kid

Angie - posted on 10/24/2010

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I think children should have some independence or they can never become their own person. I wonder if the teacher is saying that with a classroom of 20, or more, students, it's difficult for her to teach all the students if she's stopping often to help one child. I am really torn about American children. I teach Korean children how to speak like an American. These children are so far ahead of our children. They pay a price for that; they are in school from 8am to 9pm with 2 breaks totaling 2.5 hours. I don't want my children not to have any time to play with their friends or to play soccer or take part in bible study. I also don't want my children to have a difficult time finding jobs as the world becomes smaller and smaller. If we truly have to compete with other countries for jobs in the future, we are going to be way behind the curve. My children had homework in kindergarten and I'm glad they did. Kindergarten is not just about play time/socialization time like it was when I was a child. Kindergarten is now a learning time. We are so blessed in America to have the opportunity to give our children the education that we think is best for them. Have you checked in to alternative schools or homeschooling? I think that may be a great alternative for you.

Avvy - posted on 10/24/2010

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You are right about growing up too fast.Take a deep breath and remember he is your child. The independence will come naturally to him as he gains more confidence.Kindergarten is the first real experience your son has had when he can assert his independence and the teacher knows this.Hopefully with tender guidance he will welcome school and all the opportunities that come with it. When he is with you at home try giving him simple tasks and then lots of praise to reinforce the positives of doing it "all by himself" Let me know how it goes, and good parenting!

[deleted account]

Hi Meg - Dear me... That much home-work at 5 seems too much! But I was thinking that there are two issues here - one is wanting kids to be kids and the other is helping them to grow independent. I've always wanted both for my kids - I like it when they can do things on their own eg getting dressed or feeding themselves, going to visit the neighbours alone etc, but I also want them to be protected from adult concepts and to have lots of fun. So I don't think those 2 things are contradictory, if that makes sense.

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