NPR

Your Turn: When Parents Push Too Hard ... Or Not Enough

We asked our readers: Did you feel too much pressure from your parents when you were kids? As parents, how do you motivate your kids to do well?
Source: Fabio Consoli for NPR

As a parent, did you ever push your child in ways you now regret – or not push enough? Or when you were a child, did you ever feel pushed too hard or not enough?

These were the questions we posed to you, our audience, at the conclusion of our story highlighting a troubling situation in Ghana: Parents in the capital city of Accra are putting their kids in strict, academically focused preschools at ever younger ages – but tests suggest most kids aren't actually learning much. And when the government tried an experimental training program to get teachers to shift from call-and-response drills to a play-based approach, the results were hugely promising — until the moms and dads started getting involved. The researchers say the parents' anxious inquiries about their children's progress may have caused teachers to revert to the stricter, but less effective style.

All of which points to a dilemma of parenting: Sometimes a parent's determination to give a child the best possible start becomes the very thing that gets in the way.

How has this challenge played out in the lives of NPR's audience? Your answers ran the gamut. A mother of four regrets pushing her older two children — but found her footing with the youngest two.

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