Over the years that I have been writing these blogs and giving lectures, one would have hoped to see a steady dawning realisation by the parents of the western world that there was a need for a different approach in our fast changing world.
I had hoped that parents would have recognised that many of the jobs they want to force their offspring into will have disappeared by the time they leave school; or that over half of the jobs that will be open to them don’t even exist today.
I had therefore hoped that parents would be trying to ensure that their children were developing skills of exploration and inquisitiveness; of creativity and innovation; along with the basic academic knowledge. Along with it I had hoped that the over-emphasis on test results would have started to decline.
However, it seems that, far from relaxing the reins a bit, pushy parents are tightening them even further. They have now become the target of the travel agents and the holiday companies.
Imagine my sadness and sympathy for children of pushy parents when I discovered that the annual trip to the sunspots of the world could be used to pursue academic excellence!
While mum and dad are sunning themselves and drinking cocktails by the poolside, their beloved offspring are doing three hours study every morning. And if that were not enough, the poor mites can have private coaching in the afternoon. Even teenagers are not immune from the examination cramming sessions available to those approaching exams!
You have to wonder at the mentality of parents who pay to take them away and then put them in a classroom all day. While the younger children may not welcome the idea of going to the Mediterranean beaches in order to sit in a classroom, I would have thought the chances of truanting would be really high amongst the teenagers.
The cost of this activity over a morning on the waterslides costs around £500 a child on top of the holiday price and for what? I refuse to believe that depriving the child of a real holiday and a break from study is going to achieve much other than children being made fun of by their friends who have a real holiday, as well as creating a breakdown in the parent-child relationship.
How much better it would be to let the children explore the real country they are visiting. Leave the plastic environment of the all-inclusive hotel and do some risky and exciting things. Let them meet locals other than the man at passport control.
While I may like the idea of a pool devoid of noisy children, I don’t want it at the expense of pushy parents screwing up their offspring in an attempt to score a few more marks for them than the offspring of the person at the tennis club!