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Unreasonable pressure? Or over protective parent?

By maecuff ·
I need some unbiased opinions as I am too close to this to see it clearly.

My seven year old son is in the 2nd and 3rd grade this year. His aptitude tests scored him over a 10th grade level for vocabulary, 9th grade for reading comprehension and 7th grade math. However, socially, he is like any other 7 year old. He has a problem with fine motor skills (which is a nice way of saying that his hand writing sucks).

After the first grading period, the principal and his teacher approached us with moving him up to third grade for math, grammar and reading and we agreed. He's struggling a bit because being in two different grades, he seems to have an over abundance of homework (at least 1 1/2 hours each night). That doesn't stress him out too much, although he doesn't like it.

This is the problem we are having now. His dad picked him up from school today and the poor kid lost it. He was sobbing and saying that his third grade teacher is putting him under a lot of pressure. They have been taking timed math tests. Joey KNOWS the problems, but when he tries to do the work within the set amount of time, his hand writing is so bad that it is barely legible. So he gets yelled at. He slowed down, took his time and made sure his work was neat and didn't finish the tests in the right amount of time. So he gets yelled at.

He's never been the kind of kid who liked to color or draw, but I'm thinking if I encouraged him to do more of that, it may help his fine motor skills. I am also going to talk to his teacher and ask what he suggests as it seems now, the kid is damned if he does or damned if he doesn't. As far as getting so stressed, does he need to just suck it up? (Remember, he is only 7) Or do I just go a head and slash his teachers tires?

How detrimental is this kind of stress on a kid? I don't want him to start hating school, especially since he has such a terrific mind.

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My thoughts

by M_a_r_k In reply to Unreasonable pressure? O ...

First, the kid is only 7 years old. He has plenty of time later on to be enrolled in a gifted child program/school or to be put ahead to a higher grade. Let the kid be a kid for now.

Second, if any of those teachers really are yelling at or putting pressuring on your son just because he is underachieving academically, I urge you to make a trip to the nearest hardware store and buy a 4-foot long 2x4. Then, at your earliest convenience, drive over to the school and clobber those teachers across the back of the head with said 2x4. What the **** business does any teacher have in yelling at a 7-year old kid?

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M_A_R_K = Texas style justice

by Ben "Iron" Damper In reply to My thoughts

Haha Mark that was for SURE a true Texas remark regarding the 2x4!!
But I do agree that if the teacher is truly yelling at this seven year old child that it is extremly wrong!! And I'd say if you are unable as the parent to get the teacher to understand this then go straight for the principal and on up the ladder if need be. Good luck.

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by maecuff In reply to My thoughts

He is excelling academically. He just has horrible handwriting. (I also had bad handwriting as a child, as does his brother).

I like where your head is at..I'm going to explore the 2X4 option. :)

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Axe handle has a better "feel"

by stress junkie In reply to My thoughts

Get a nice axe handle. They have a good shape to allow a firm grip.

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Or a baseball bat

by M_a_r_k In reply to Axe handle has a better " ...

What was I thinking? It's hard to control your swing with a 2x4. I like a baseball bat even better than an axe handle. The round barrel is easy to grip and swing from all angles. And some of those teachers apparently have a brain the size of a baseball and a skull as hard a baseball, so a baseball bat might be a perfect option.

Handwriting or academics... doesn't matter to me. Most kids will have one deficiency or another. A teacher yelling at a kid will only worsen the problem. A teacher is supposed to teach. I looked up the word "teach" in the dictionary. Every definition implies helping someone learn. I see nothing in any of the definitions about ridicule or critcism. A teacher who yells at a student of any age should find another profession.

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Yeah but it's overdone

by stress junkie In reply to Or a baseball bat

Everybody uses a baseball bat. I like a little diversity in my evening news.

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whichever is used

by Jaqui In reply to Yeah but it's overdone

add the spikes through it for maximum damage!!!

axehandle, baseball bat, 2x4 with spikes will do more damage than without. ]:)

muttering..danged typos..withoput...really....

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A little of both, and neither

by amcol In reply to Unreasonable pressure? O ...

I've read all the other posts and there's a lot of wisdom in a lot of them.

Max, in particular, has it right. All children and all situations are different. None of us can do any better than offering you generalities. I agree with him...go with your own gut.

Your son is of above average intelligence and able to socialize reasonably well, despite only being 7 years old and in a situation that places him among children who are older and bigger than he is. That's great. The fact that he's in there and holding his own is way more than enough.

He has bad handwriting. Most 7-year olds do. In my day they taught penmanship, but not anymore. It's OK to teach a child that neatness counts, but it shouldn't be a major big deal in terms of evaluating their work product. I doubt, as do others herein, that your son's teacher is "yellling" at him...that's your son's perspective, and considering his age and the pressure he feels he's under every sharp word by the teacher he'll construe as yelling. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

I think you have a larger problem...grandma and grandpa. The worst thing you can say to any child is "you have so much potential!". It sets the bar impossibly high, and the kid ultimately either feels like a failure for not measuring up or puts himself under enormous pressure so as not to disappoint the adults. Sounds to me like in your son's case it's the latter. If whichever grandparent can't respect your wishes, that you've made abundantly clear, to find another way to dote on your son then it's time to lower the boom on them, not your son or his teacher.

I do agree with others' sentiments that we as parents increasingly place far too much pressure on our kids, and allow our kids to place far too much pressure on themselves. It's OK to have unstructured time, to have only one after-school activity and no more, to stay at the same level as the rest of their age group no matter how smart they are. You ask how detrimental is the stress your son is feeling. How do you feel when you're stressed? You and I have lost the perspective on how it felt to be stressed as a 7-year old, nor is the stress we felt when we were 7 comparable to the stress your son is feeling. ALL stress is detrimental, and while a little bit of stress may be a good thing it needs to be controlled. I'd say you need to identify the source of the stress to be able to control it, and in this case I reallly believe the stress is coming not from the teacher but from the grandparents and your son himself.

You and your son's father need to look inward to figure out how much you're both enabling this to happen. You're the parents. It's up to you to control it.

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To be fair

by maecuff In reply to A little of both, and nei ...

to the grandparents.. It wasn't always just them. Joey started speaking sentences before he was a year old. By the time he was 18 months old, he was picking up Spanish by watching Dora the Explorer. (We observed him counting books on our bookshelf in Spanish). He constantly surprised us with each new thing. By the time he was two, when people would remark on how well he spoke, he would reply, "That's because I'm really smart.." It was then that we realized that we really had to pull back on talking about it so much, perhaps some of the damage (or even most) was already done by then.

His grandparents (on both sides) live a fair distance from us, but they usually talk with Joey a few times each week. I did put my foot down and told them that any more money sent for perfect report cards would be sent back unopened because we didn't want him to think that his worth came from his grades. They complied and now they just send money for no reason at all. :)

As far as perspective goes, I would never minimize the stressful feeling he is having. Trust me, the kid was beside himself and whether it was self-imposed or not, it was real to him. (This is what makes me want to slash the teachers tires, I have a huge 'mama bear' inside me).

His dad is talking to the teacher today (in less than 15 minutes from now) so hopefully he will get a little more insight on the situation.

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An epic challenge

by amcol In reply to To be fair

Your little guy is going to be a source of joy and frustration to you. Joy at the wonderful things he'll be able to accomplish with his superior intellect, and frustration due to the constant struggle you'll have to keep him challenged.

Before you go slashing the teacher's tires or, as someone else suggested, beating him with a 2x4, make sure the punishment fits the crime. I understand how you feel...I raised one of my own just like yours, and papa bears aren't a whole lot different from mama bears in this regard.

Interestingly enough, I had the same issue with grandparents you do, which is why I advised as I did. You're absolutely right to cut off the money flow...he should not see academic or any other kind of achievement as something resulting in compensation. The only thing I'd do differently is not send it back...add it to his college fund. (Think about a 529 plan, BTW...good for your son and financially attractive to his grandparents.)

Good luck. Here's the good news...everything's going to be fine no matter what you do. You have a highly intelligent son with an inquisitive mind and good social skills, one who appears not to get intimidated by older kids. Your son has two involved, caring parents with the proper perspective on the situation. As far as the stress is concerned, I'm quite certain you've perceived the reality of his stress correctly. Just bear in mind that children go through phases, and this too may pass relatively quickly. Sometimes the right action is no action.

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