From neglected child to favorite snotty nose – Algemeen Nijmegen Studentenblad

In Tijdgeest, each edition discusses a past, present and future point of view on a phenomenon or development. This edition: Parental involvement in education.

“Excessive parents,” “helper parents,” and “extreme parents” are all ways to describe the type of parents who are highly involved in their children’s well-being. They want the child to do a good study and later end up with a gainful job. When it takes a big fight to get their kids to the senior high school level, these parents aren’t shy about it. Although this is an extreme case, today’s parents expect a lot from their children’s education. Has this been the case in the past and will it continue to be the case in the future?

Past: Earn money for greenhouse beds with toppings

In the first half of the last century, families were large because parents had an economic incentive to have many children: their children could contribute to the family budget and thus began working at an early age. “Because the families were large, there was little individual attention to the child,” says René van der Veer, professor emeritus of historical pedagogy. “Parents really didn’t have time to play with their kids, let alone help them with schoolwork if they went to school at all.” Parents from different socioeconomic backgrounds stimulated different behaviors in their children. “Highly educated parents emphasized initiative and independence because the children would later become bosses,” he explains. “Less-educated parents value obedience and authority than they would be working under their boss.”

Going to school was not certain: until the mid-1970s, compulsory education only applied to children up to the age of ten. Pupils who went to school were given the same levels of education as their parents. A dime rarely turned into a quarter, and parents from a lower milieu thought this no more than sensible. This does not mean that children have absolutely no choice in their future profession. “Since the 1920s, there have been all kinds of career selection offices to which schools, especially in cities, send children to find out which profession is suitable for the child,” says Jack Dine, head of collections and research at the Education Museum in Dordrecht. The children naturally ended up in professions that matched the level of education their parents pursued as well.

“Society is becoming more and more competitive.”

With the introduction of the Cito Test in 1968, students no longer relied solely on the advice of their teacher and the background of their parents, but also on a test that measured their performance. By then, the number of children per family was shrinking due to the normalization of contraception, increased prosperity and an ever-increasing emphasis on compulsory education. In addition, appliances such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines that made housework easier were introduced. All this gave parents more time to turn their children into an “enterprise” in which education has been a central theme since the 1990s. “Society has become increasingly competitive,” says Dane. “It was about making money and gaining prestige that went with the education you had.” At that time, early parents came to see the Cito Test as something they could train their children with. Wealthy people also sent their offspring to the teaching institutes that appeared in those years.

Present: “Did you know that Picasso had a score of 550 in Seto?”

Pressure has increased among young people to do well in school. It is a broad social problem in which parents also play a role: they encourage higher education that leads to good jobs. However, not all parents can participate in the arms race. While some cannot afford the added luxury of tutoring, others find it difficult to find free time to support their children with schoolwork themselves. “If your monthly salary is limited, there is no room for investing in your child’s Cito score,” says Dane. Then you give your child food and clothing so that he has the basic necessities of life.

“Parents stimulated a desire to perform, which led to a fear of failure.”

Parents who can provide essential services to their children in the meantime make it daily work to support them as much as possible. Although the intentions are good, the so-called helicopter parents have very high expectations. “Parents stimulated the desire to perform, which led to a fear of failure,” says Jan Dirksen, a former assistant professor of psychodiagnostics at Radboud University. According to him, parents always give their children the slightest compliments, so that they do not learn how to handle criticism. “Helicopter parents keep their children out of the wind for the first years of life,” says Dirksen. The children of these involved parents never fall from the tree, nor are they forced to spin against the wind and be told their drawings look like Picasso’s. They cannot be beaten, but they must be able to if they are to be expected to succeed later on. “This inconsistency causes these children to collapse when they get a low Cito score later in life or receive negative feedback in a performance review,” Dirksen says.

This type of child is discussed a lot in the media but according to Dirksen it is the exception to the rule so far. Although she agrees with Dirksen, Suzanne Prangi, professor of adolescent development and socialization at Utrecht University, says the habits of overly involved parents seep into the general state of affairs. “While parents were more authoritarian in the 1950s and 1960s, we are now moving towards an overprotective upbringing.” Nowadays, parents come to compensation if they think that the teacher is treating their children wrongly. According to Branje, this is not the end of the world, as it allows parents to provide support and help the child end up in a suitable type of school. She adds a comment: “Young people must also learn to shape their own lives and make decisions for themselves.”

Future: having children in foster care

Parents want to have a greater say in how schools treat their children and will certainly continue to do so in the future. In addition, the primary school has more and more parenting and caring tasks. From serving breakfast to lessons about bullying,” van der Veer says. To predict what awaits schools in the future, he looks at fathers’ involvement in work. “If both parents work full time, nursery becomes more important and parenting tasks shift to school or daycare.” This, combined with the overall workload of teachers and students, has Dane worried about the future.“You can see that schools barely have time to teach kids how to count, spell and write correctly,” he says.“They’re exhausted.”

“Parents continue to interfere longer and more easily with their children’s choices.”

So parents are increasingly getting involved in their children and in schools, but they are also doing it for a longer and longer period. “Leaving home, entering a relationship, and getting married are the times when parents are used to distancing themselves the most from their children,” Prangi says. However, young people are increasingly postponing such moments. Prangi explains that because of high student debt and limited housing options, students choose to continue living at home, within their parents’ circle of influence. “This means that they continue to interfere longer and more easily with their children’s choices,” she says. “This could lead to more education about helicopters.”

Prangi also suggests that in the future we must take a more negative view of parents’ high expectations for raising young in a healthy way. “The pressure to perform that young people go through is related to the expectations of their parents,” she says. She cites recent research as an example Healthy behavior in school-age children He points out that more and more young men, and girls in particular, are experiencing mental problems and high pressure to perform, in part because of the high expectations of their parents. According to Branje, we must therefore be critical of the motivation of higher education and the supervision of homework. Van der Veer is also critical of current expectations. According to him, it is important to re-evaluate practical professions, so that young people are under less pressure to perform them. “Theoretical training has basically become a prestige issue for parents who have been theoretically trained themselves,” he says. As a result, we have come to place very little value on practical professions. “I expect that the current shortage of craftsmen will result in higher salaries, so that parents will see this as more valuable work,” he says. “Well, that still looks like ground coffee.”

This article appeared in ANS 5 Journal.

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