Parent teacher conferences came and went, and ours was followed by a light-hearted lecture directed at Addie. It’s tough to figure out how hard to push these kids. How much push is enough push? And how am I supposed to know when I’m pushing my kid too hard?
My parents pushed me plenty hard when I was growing up. I can remember numerous times when I was grounded because my grades weren’t up to snuff. There were many lectures about the importance of getting good grades, but those good grades never came from any of those lectures. At some point I tuned my parents out and I no longer cared what my grades were. The change happened somewhere around the 8th grade. That’s when I was okay with a solid B+ average. Maintaining that average meant I didn’t ever have to do any homework and studying for tests didn’t exist in my world.
Nothing my parents threatened worked either. No matter how many lectures they gave me about the importance of good grades, the message never got through, and I think they are still frustrated by my actions to this day.
My parents’ methods got through to all my sisters, and that’s probably why they were so frustrated with me. All three of my sisters were smart. They all excelled at math and they were all ahead of the curve for their age groups. All three of them also ended up with college scholarships.
Then there was me, the laziest of them all. The child who didn’t get a scholarship for college.
Addie reminds me a lot of my sisters. She’s really smart for her age. Ever since she first began school, she’s been a grade or two ahead, especially when it comes to reading.
The latest parent teacher’s conference confirmed that this is still the case, but at this time last year Addie was a full 2 grades ahead in the reading category. This year, she has slipped a little. She’s only 1 grade ahead. I know, I know. It’s nothing that I should be overly concerned with since she’s doing well in school, but I can’t seem to overlook the fact that the rate of her progress has declined. I worry that it will become an ongoing trend.
The only change that I’ve seen in Addie’s behavior, and I speculate that it has possibly caused her educational decline, is a change in the types of books that she reads. Addie no longer reads her chapter books. Instead, she camps out at night in her room reading Garfield comic books, and that’s why I wonder if I’m going to end up pushing Addie too far until she ends up like me lazy and uninterested in scholastic improvement.
I want Addie to drop the Garfield comic books, which are books I loved reading as a kid, and move back into reading her chapter books. Reading chapter books is going to help her continue to progress at the pace she’s become accustomed to, but how much pushing is too much pushing? While it is important that she continue to progress in school, it is also important that she enjoys her time as a child.
It’s a tough balance to find, and it’s a balance my parents never found with me. It’s a balance that I really want to find with Addie.
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