Sometimes I don’t understand grade conscious moms. I encountered one mom who shared that she is conscious about her child’s grade and class ranking. She reasoned that it develops her child’s confidence in terms of achieving goals by “enforcing” a good study habit. She raised a good point about study habit, but I disagree with her in `enforcing` it, not to mention that her child is just a kindergarten. If she could have used ‘encourage’ instead of ‘enforce’ then we could probably be on the same page, especially if the child is in grade school at least. There is also one mom I know who frequently check on her middle schooler’s advanced study amidst the child’s bonding time with her siblings. There`s nothing wrong with that of course. The child’s stringent discipline in studying has earned her honor after honor. And every quarter, the mom never fails to announce in Facebook her daughter’s grade and class ranking.
At the extreme are parents who will go as far as punishing their children by shaming, disapproving, and humiliating the kids when parental academic expectations are not met. It’s very sad, but it happens. They are probably concern of their child’s achievement but the problem is, they might wound their child psychologically. How could these possibly affect the children? You ask. These kids could probably tie their personal worth to their grades. And later on as adults, to their work outcome and performance. There is more to a person than what he or she could produce.
If being grade conscious is for the child’s sake, then let’s not forget that there are far more important skills that a child must learn. There are adaptive, social, and emotional skills that will surely help the child navigate the real world.
I am then led to wonder if being grade conscious is really about molding the child or if it’s about molding the parent’s self-image or ego. It happens when a parent’s ego swell when her child is awarded. It happens when there is a competition among children of siblings, relatives, or friends. It happens when a parent herself is frustrated with her own sense of achievement. Well, it may be partly about developing the child’s character, but I guess it’s also partly about the parent’s ego.
There is a fine line between being a proud parent and a stage parent. A proud parent offers freedom and is happy for the child’s achievement, but a stage parent casts control and takes the child’s accomplishment personally.
I don’t claim to have a correct understanding nor do I propose that I`m any closer to being right. This post is merely a product of my wandering mind and of my limited observation, observation that could perhaps evoke some self-reflection.
So whether you`re grade conscious or not, it doesn`t matter. In the end it`s our children`s judgment and opinion that truly matter. Just imagine, it`s so wonderful to hear our grownup kids say: Mom, Dad, you did a fine job in rearing me. I know you`re not perfect, but thank you for helping me to be this way.