Monday, January 12, 2015

Striking Balance

Only J can tell if she considers me a "pushy parent" but she recently told me that her best friend knows that I don't sugar coat my feedback. It can be direct and "mean". As an example J cited the following difference in parental approach : For homework the kids had been assigned an essay on a very boring topic. When J showed me her first draft I said this is D quality material at best and needs a complete makeover to be remotely acceptable. I asked her to be efficient with her time and wrap it up quick - not let work expand to fill all the time there was. I did point out to the areas of improvement but only in the end. The best friend's dad on the other had her delete a very badly written paragraph saying that was more suitable for a creative writing assignment. He went on to add that she was off to a good start and with some work could get a lot better. 

Per this Scientific American article, me being pushy (if that were indeed the case ) could hurt J in the long run. Over the years, I have found that the school does a great job of finessing feedback to kids and being politically correct. The only place she hears direct (and possibly harsh) feedback is from me. I figure it will build her tolerance for people in the real world who will not be too concerned about sparing her feelings. I can be generous with praise when it is deserved so she does get positive affirmation too. I have not seen my style  hurt her self-esteem so far. I take comfort knowing that comes a point in a girl's life when what mom says is not terribly important. They are their own person and asserting their place in the world with or without mom's approval. J is getting there. If my input is not interesting it just gets tuned out. I hope between my efforts to give her a dose of reality and her ability to tune out as required , we are able to strike some balance.

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