Raising Kids or Warriors?

A conversation between colleagues that I witnessed :-

DSC03056Colleague (Male) say A :- Sir, you are a PhD. You must be tutoring your daughter at home and helping with her homework.

Senior Colleague (Male) say B :- Ahh! No. My wife doesn’t let me teach our daughter because she thinks I am not strict enough. See, my ideology is when she wants to study she will. But my wife is always making her study like when she wants to go out to play, when she is watching tv…

Senior Colleague (Female) say C :- Sir, which child “wants” to study? We have to make them study.

B :- Hmmm..Few days back my wife asked her to write few words in small, capital and cursive. She mixed up and my wife slapped her. But I feel it is unfair to expect a child of 5 yrs to write all that correctly.

C :- Sir, in today’s world of competition, we have to prepare them to fight. Otherwise they will end up as losers and will blame us only that why didn’t we make them study.

Another incident at a bookstore that I witnessed :-

A lady placed a very thin book on the counter and proceeded to pay for it. The book was – Unsolved C.B.S.E. Question Papers for Class 1.


The city I live in, is the education hub of my state. In its small area, coaching classes, schools and engineering colleges have cropped up like mushrooms. The attitude of parents is highly competitive and they aspire their child to become either a doctor or an engineer.There is too much hype of tuitions, question papers, crash courses and so on. This preliminary backdrop is required to understand my reactions.

# Previous years question papers for Class 1? Class 1? Are you kidding me? I know Education has got tougher and more competitive but this? Obviously that book is there because there is a demand for it. Why should a child of class 1 be made to feel that it is essential for him to solve question papers and that he would be under prepared otherwise? I have seen many parents run around to get notes, question papers etc which I think builds up more tension in the student’s mind and he feels less confident if he has left out even a single old paper unsolved.  The practice is good for higher classes but totally unnecessary for small kids. Her fear for her child is justified and maybe she just wanted to just see the pattern of question paper. I just hope that is the reason and that she is not pressurizing her child into believing that Class 1 exam is like going to war and he has to be armed to the teeth!!

effect of school on children

# I think the acceptance of the occasional slap/beating parents give to their “disobedient” children in our society is wrong. Slapping or beating if a child did not write some words correctly is very very wrong. Kids do silly mistakes in maths or spelling mistakes in language but I am sure there are better ways to make them learn the correct things.

# See the stark difference in Indian and Western attitude towards studies

A quote goes –

पढ़ोगे लिखोगे बनोगे नवाब
खेलोगे कूदोगे होगे ख़राब

Studies will make your life, sports will mar it

A Bengali quote says –

পড়া শোনা করে যে
গাড়ি ঘড়া চড়ে শে

One who studies rides cars and horse i.e. becomes rich.

An English proverb says –

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

sports build character, not wanting to compete

# Its true that few kids feel like studying on their own. But I feel a particular time duration must be set during which the kid has to complete homework and study. Before and after that he is free to pursue to games etc. In fact it must be encouraged because the games kids play nowadays are on computer!! I think many of them don’t know the games we used to play.


# Every parent’s fear is well founded but pressurizing the kid 24×7, making him think if he doesn’t “win” like come in rank, get into prestigious school/college/career then he is a loser; is entirely wrong.

living one dreams through son

# A child should be treated as a child and not as a warrior! Of course no gain without pain but still the pain should be tolerable!!

no gain without pain

Let him responsibly enjoy the best time of his life before he becomes a rat in the rat race.

childhood 2

61 thoughts on “Raising Kids or Warriors?

  1. Very nice post.
    The parental pressure on the children is becoming a very big issue these days. But like everything, it has its pros and cons.
    My parents used to ask me why did I score 99 and not 100 in Maths. I think that kind of pressure on me helped. After a while, the willingness to score a 100, the drive for it, they started to come naturally. And my parents backed out when they realized that I understand the importance of competition and that i had to be ahead of others. I don’t deny that there was not pressure, but i don’t remember them making me feel terribly bad if i failed. I would like to think that i was subjected to just the right amount of pressure.
    My point is :
    1. Parents should back out at the right time.
    2. The focus should be to put the child in automode so that he doesn’t need the fear of parents to do well in school. It should come naturally to him/her.
    3. Doing good in school is important.

  2. Such an important post.

    ‘which child “wants” to study? We have to make them study.’ – I hear this all the time from parents who feel the UK education system is not tough enough. They keep complaining that the children are not ‘pressured’ to study! I have seen how much fun my daughter is having while learning that she does not feel the ‘pressure’ but she still is learning.

    Previous years questions for a Class 1 is ridiculous! Why would a parent do that!

    ‘I think the acceptance of the occasional slap/beating parents give to their “disobedient” children in our society is wrong. Slapping or beating if a child did not write some words correctly is very very wrong. Kids do silly mistakes in maths or spelling mistakes in language but I am sure there are better ways to make them learn the correct things.’ – I totally agree. I think slapping or beating is unacceptable – there are far better ways of making a child pick up things.. Beating a child can never be good.

    ‘Let him responsibly enjoy the best time of his life before he becomes a rat in the rat race.’ – So true. let the child be a child.. Let him/her enjoy her childhood the way it is meant to be enjoyed.

  3. “A lady placed a very thin book on the counter and proceeded to pay for it. The book was – Unsolved C.B.S.E. Question Papers for Class 1.”


    Parents actually create aversion to studies when they slap and hit kids. Basic education should be interesting for kids to enjoy studies.

  4. Maybe that class I question paper buyer was a teacher trying to make a question paper? If not, this is heights!

    Students are also subjected to peer pressure at school, and will automatically do well if they are inclined. If a student is not getting to study well inspite of good coaching etc, it is the responsibility of the school/parents to help find out the hidden talent in them – every child has one. Not all children need to become engineers and do back office jobs in the name of software engineering!

    Destination Infinity

  5. This is much much an important post on important issue.

    You have just described the perfect scenario of behaves from parents to their kids. You know Reema Apu, in the context of Bangladesh, there are many many (newly developed as rich) families who has money enough and needs their child to admit in renowned schools! This desire of admitting their child to renowned famous schools are inspired to maintain the ‘social status’! 🙄

    Unfortunately, the population is so huge and there are very few schools for admission in class 1, and these schools don’t admit student in later 9 years! last year for each seat, 25 girl kids competed in admission exam of a specific school. I just became astonished!

    Don’t know why ‘RACE of social status’ is affecting innocent young kids life…. don’t know when it would be stopped.. I feel pity because the scenario I told above is not only an incidents… this is a common scenario almost in each families…

    What is waiting to and from our future generation? I feel pain whenever I think of it…. A deep sigh comes out from me! 😯 😦

  6. Pingback: The Warriors: Young Kids In Admission Exam « Lights and Shadows

  7. A thoughtful post I must say…
    But then I do not blame the parents completely. I mean the world is really competitive today. There are no free meals, and if it has come to this level its a parent’s responsibility to prepare the child for the future.

    There should always be the line between tolerable and intolerable as you said but still the line needs to be competitive. I mean in times like today where your marks in class X still have a bearing if you would get a job or get into a college. The brand of your college determines the league of the career you are having, the competitiveness has become a necessary evil.

    Moreover, the hardwork which the parents are making their children do, is not primarily for topping the class or sth (though that is an obvious benchmark) but also to inculcate the habit & attitude to be competitive, hard working and sincere.

  8. Class 1 is nothing…I know parents here in Singapore who send their nursery and KG kids for Abacus, Kumon and/or reading classes…These kids don’t have time to play…

    We have put our 5 year old daughter in an international school (IB)…Once in a while I wonder if we’ve made the right decision because the ‘pressure’ in her school is non-existent…They learn through fun activities…We thought that since we are in another country, she should be exposed to other cultures…She loves her school and hates holidays…Although I know we’ve made the right decision, I sometimes wonder if an Indian school would have been better – what if we have to return to India? Anyway, there’s no point in thinking about these things right now, will deal with it if and when the time comes…

    Unfortunately, the stress to do well in school and college is killing some of our brightest children…March is the worst month – every year during exam time, tens of children commit suicide because they cannot cope with the stress…Economic growth and skyrocketing salaries are putting unprecedented pressure on the youth to succeed…Parents also expect more of their children now…

  9. Slapping is wrong, but so I dont think that leaving everything to children or their choice is also not ok. None of the sportsman had been so succesful, if their parent were not diligent and persued with them.

    Children need to be told the timetable for everything and must be given some free time to enjoy , play and rest.

  10. Seriously!!!!!!!!!!!

    At least my parents don’t/didn’t pressurize me that much(ya I started blogging during 10th) 😛
    If a child is not upto the level say in a certain subject, don’t her feel miserable, it makes no sense…I hate the system, something needs to be done, before things get terrible…

  11. I always say this …

    we humans consider that we are the superior spieces however we have made such a world that our kids have to train for 20-25 years to stand on their own feet.. where as a fawn stands up on its own feet within hours of its birth to survive in the wild world.

    This mindless race among parents truly sucks… I have seen one such incident and written about it : http://hitchwriter.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/un-training-bah/

    I hope parents understand a lil more and remember they too were kids once … !!!

  12. Reema, a thoughtful post and those examples you gave are very telling. Forcing children to study is not “education.” and I wonder when people will realise that! True education is Learning and one learns only when one feels the desire to know. I am sure this affects the child’s ability to succeed in real life.
    But at the same time I must say that a balance needs to be sought. As a mother of two children I was always in this dilemma. I was tempted to put them in schools which did not pressurise and in fact both my kids started with the montessory system. Even later I tried to choose schools which did not have some type of academic regimentation and no extra curricular activities.

  13. Unsolved C.B.S.E. Question Papers for Class 1 ?? Are you kidding me?
    As far as I remember I have seen Class 10 previous question papers.

    My parents have never asked me to study at any point of time during my school/college days. I guess they wanted me to figure it out myself. And I did. I guess I would never ask my kid to study. I would be doing my part of putting him in a good school.

  14. Well a lot of parents including mine thing that practical experience is zilch but knowledge gained by studying books is worth everything! I have learnt so much on a single job that I can safetly say that it does not matter if u do not score well in your studies but u learn and implement your practical knowledge well than no one can ever point fingers at you! It makes me wonder, if doing an MBA after graduation is really necessary! But Alas! You need to. Even if your the worst grade MBA, you are still an MBA! and that tag matters! You could say its a vicious society!

  15. u know what u r saying makes sense.. but there’s no doubt that the competition is so so tough these days that even the people who get 94-95% don’t get admission in places like delhi university.. so i guess the best way to handle kids is to not have them… aise hi kyun kisi ko paida kar ke usko itni mehnat karwani aur jad to jahat karvani? let the souls be free..

  16. We have been seeing this in our society for so long and it is becoming worse year after year. It is a vicious circle into which parents are dragged into and unless parents stop and think and make decisions, kids take a big toll. Schools and educational institutions should take steps to alleviate this rat race.

    Where exactly is childhood and when does this race stop?

  17. class 1 previous years papers..? lol…. what was the lady thinking…

    but tell me… does that attitude really help…

    my parents always guided me to study.. but never pressurised to be a top performer.. they were cool with my above average marks…

    and many of us above averagers are doing fine in life… and that is enough to have a successful life… (depending what success means to you)

  18. /*A lady placed a very thin book on the counter and proceeded to pay for it. The book was – Unsolved C.B.S.E. Question Papers for Class 1.*/

    LOL 😆 what more I can say on this..

    I hate pushing children to study… it will come from within…. some parents are crazy these days

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  20. The other day, when my neighbour told me that his cousin scored 91% in SSC (10th) and is still struggling for admission, I was shocked! I think the competition amongst students to get admission to their choice of college and stream these days is what causes parents to fear. This fear inturn pressurizes the child.

    It’s ironic how children these days are often deprived of their childhood. This practice has to end, and it will happen only when the system changes.

    It’s either the system that has to change or the mindset of the people.

    Very nice post, loved it!! 🙂

    And thanks a lot for linking my post too 🙂

  21. Whoa! Question papers for students in Year 1!!! I thought things were bad when I went to school but they have definitely become worse. At least I had a childhood and the first time I went for extra tuition was in the 6th for Marathi because I didn’t know it and was new to Bombay…and then had tuition for Maths from the 8th because was again weak in it. But now, classes are more for the higher end of students than for the ones that actually have difficulties! It happens here too with Indians and Asians…wanting their kids to do extremely well in studies that they send them for extra classes on weekends as well. Sigh. Kids don’t have a childhood these days.

  22. hmmm…interesting post. Question papers at class 1 is certainly not warranted. Nevertheless, a certain amount of pressure is always desirable and that is really difficult to define. The key is striking a balance between the two.

  23. Kids dont have it easy these days. I never fail to get shocked by the weights of their school bags.

    There is too much competition and related stress. On the other hand now there are so many colleges all over the place that getting a degree is just a matter of selection the shop and paying for it.

  24. Balance is the key, going to either end at extreme (play or studies) is not gonna be good. As for taking it easy at lower levels & then making them study hard at higher levels, I doubt this will work as the kid will become accustomed to easy life. Don’t spoil the kid but don’t also ground his nose to the floor, playing only at play time & studies at study time, that’ll teach the kid to respect time, finish his stuff on time.

    Lots of thoughts mulling in the head on this, I’d better write a blog post as well, hehehe! 😀

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