An excellent article by Heidi Scrimgeour on Parentdish had me pondering her ultimate question, "Are you a pushy parent?". I suspect however, we have somewhat differing ideas of what a Pushy Parent is. I'm thinking of toddlers, who should be covered in sand and mud from splashing in puddles and are instead caked in make-up and forced to parade around in some horrific beauty pageant living "the dream" their mother failed to fulfill herself. So, no, in my world I'm not a pushy parent.
Here in Germany, in my experience, parents are far from pushy. Indeed, it's not unusual for a child to repeat a year in school if he's struggling and universities are full of "young adults" who in my opinion should have been working years ago. The average university leaving age here is around 27!
If me not being overly keen on having to finance my daughter's education until she is 27, which, by the way, we are obliged to do, makes me pushy, then maybe I am after all. In fact, when it comes to education, I can feel a bit of pushiness coming on. Assuming that is, that Finje wishes to go to university. Of course.
Her dad, whilst arguing the case for the German education system, is, I suspect ,gearing up to become even pushier than me if the building of the Lego castle is any indication. The said castle was Finje's only request from Father Christmas. When she opened the box my heart sank as I eyed the thousands of minuscule pieces and no less than three thick instruction manuals! It was like Ikea for kids. The age recommendation on the box was from age 7. Finje is 4.
My husband was determined she could do it though, and do it she did! The instructions were in picture form and Finje surprised us both with her concentration and dedication to the job in hand. Her dad however, jollied on by such unusual commitment began to lose his blob when her concentration began to flag after "only" 3 hours of engineering.
"It is supposed to be fun darling" I gently reminded. "Nein nein, she should concentrate more on what she is doing. She can do it I know she can." (add German accent for true effect!)
Whilst we discussed the concept of child play versus child abuse Finje had fallen asleep with a little Lego knight in her hand.
I pushed her to bed.