It’s an all too common scenario, a parent pressuring their child to get high grades and then wondering why their child suddenly loses their passion for learning.
“Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning”
Jessica Lahey, a teacher, shares one of the conversations she had with a mother during a parent-teacher conference.
The mom tells her, “Marianna’s grades are fine; I’m not worried about that, but she just doesn’t seem to love learning anymore.”
And Jessica agrees with what the mother has said. She shares, “I’m torn between my responsibility to help Marianna and the knowledge that what I have to say is a truth I’m not sure this mother is ready to hear.”
She then adds, “The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault.”
“Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning.”
We have to rethink what we want out of our kids
Having high grades is important, that much is true. However, have we ever stopped and thought about what we want for our kids beyond having high grades?
As parents, we have to rethink what we want out of our kids. A research done on German students from 2002-2007 found that when parents were pushing their kids to achieve, they did their best to meet their parents expectations. However, when the expectations exceeded their potential, the students did worse.
This is why we have to understand that our kids do have different intelligences, and should not be judged by how good their grades are. A child that has low grades in science or math could be an amazing writer or artist. A student with average grades in history but good in sports could be an olympian in the making.
It’s good to expect things out of our kids, but we have to be realistic in our expectations and we also need to take the time to know what skills and talents our kids excel in.
Go to the next page to learn more about building a love of learning in your kids.
Developing a love of learning
A lot of educators will tell you that the key to raising smart children is to make them develop a love of learning. A child that has a constant thirst for knowledge and learning will actively try and improve themselves through study, and a lot of successful people are perpetual learners.
Here are some tips to consider if you want your kids to develop a love of learning:
- Make them curious. The very first step to help develop a love of learning in your kid would be to make them curious. Ask them questions about the world, and constantly make them think about how things work and why things happen.
- Entertain their questions. Children ask a lot of questions. You can take advantage of this by answering all of the questions that they have. Of course, this would also mean that you have to learn a lot of things yourself. In some cases, you and your child can both discover the answer for yourselves by researching it on the internet, doing experiments, or by reading a book.
- Give them choices. Not all kids are interested in learning about plants or animals. Kids have varied interests that pique their curiosity. Give your children choices when it comes to the things that they want to learn about. Encourage them to try different things so that they can have more experiences that they can learn from.
- Create opportunities for learning. As a parent, it’s our responsibility to constantly create opportunities for our children to learn. You can do daily activities such as sharing facts or researching new things in order to foster constant curiosity and a love of learning in your children.
READ: High grades won’t ensure your kid’s success
Sources: theatlantic.com, alternet.org, huffingtonpost.com, edutopia.org
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