OT but can we comment on this...

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
OT but can we comment on this...
9
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 12:45pm

400 dollars an hour for "recreation consultants." Really? People to teach your child how to play after systematically regimenting their childhood to favor elite kindergarten admissions? This is just about the saddest thing I've heard. What are we coming to?

http://newyorkpost.com/p/news/local/muffy_can_play_AP6ELbpb1BiTQgonhOrCTJ

This is sort of hitting me because of all the college application stuff actually. I've been thinking a good deal on our expectations of such young people. This pressure to be picture perfect. Why do we expect our kids to be more than we were at their age? I was a star in school and got into every college I applied to... and I was nothing compared to what they are expecting of kids today. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2000
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 6:04pm

This is hysterical.  And these people are serious. Over the past few years, I have written application packages or appeals packages for a number of children whose families were interested in seeing them enrolled in our school system's GT program.  Every child I have prepared materials for has been admitted.  Recently, a friend suggested that I start a consulting business to help people get their kids into GT.  She said there could be huge money in it.  I responded that the kids I helped get into the program very obviously belonged there (without any coaching by their parents or courses/tutors to prep them for the tests). It was easy to convince the committee to admit them because they are all highly gifted (although most were twice exceptional so didn't all top the tests).  The people who would have wanted to be my clients if I'd started a business are surely the same ones who would send their kids to $400 per hour preschool play skills workshops.  Needless to say, I will not be consulting to help parents get their kids into the GT program.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
Fri, 07-19-2013 - 6:17pm

"All this child’s play is deadly serious for parents, because the toddlers will be judged on these skills when they apply to top-end schools, such as Trinity and Horace Mann."

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/22/nyregion/compensation-talks-in-horace-mann-sexual-abuse-cases.html?_r=0

Some people have lots of money...but no brains.

Deborah

p.s.  I haven't tried to login to ivillage since our whole group defected to the Dark Side because the login process was so tedious and sometimes didn't work at all..and still had to make multiple tries today to log into ivillage.  Some things never change. ;)

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Sat, 07-20-2013 - 4:01pm

Cry

It would be funny if it was just a case of neurotic parents spending money on ridiculous stuff in an attempt to climb the socioeconomic ladder. But we're talking about children here. It's tragic that it has come to this. Honestly my most prominent thought is gratitude that I don't live surrounded by an educational system that feeds anxiety and warps parenting values as the system in NYC seems to.

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Sun, 07-21-2013 - 6:56pm

Normally I don't pay much attention to anything that shows up in the New York Post.   This is different because they are picking up on and commenting on something very real, even if they are magnifying it to create sensationalism.  As you say, the expectations placed on these children are crushing and ridiculous: there's an expectation of perfection right from the start.   Even play must be micromanaged as if these babies are wee executives.

I agree that it's ridiculous to expect our kids to be more than we were at the same age.  But I am even more worried that a society that doesn't allow for missteps and uneven growth loses the creativity and unusual ability that some later developers have to offer.  Worse yet, we encourage a lockstep, fear-of-failure, take no risks personality that can get in the way of innovation as well as compassion.

And that's not all.  I see this as a manifestation of the anti-intellectual perspective of the U.S.   It's good to be smart but not over the top smart and never at the expense of social fluency.   These parents are really already afraid of their kids seeming less socially skilled?  Give me a break.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Tue, 07-23-2013 - 2:05pm

My initial thought was YIKES!  Then I wondered how different this was from the social group we seek to help for ASD.  The motivation is different, yes.  But one of my biggest stressors with an ASD child is that the world is changing and relationships are becoming more and more critical.  In my father's time period, loyalty was valued.  He worked at a company his whole life, retired, and received a pension.  Seniority ruled - so the more loyals were at companies longer, resulting in more advancement.  In my generation, one could advance without seniority if one was very good at their job.  Sure social skills comes in to a degree, but education was very valued.  Now, however, the career path is changing rapidly (maybe it always was, but now I'm in higher level management) and advancement is very much based on networking skills.  Networking skills became very prominent in the latest economic downturn.  So seeing the trend and the requirement for good social skills, I am very concerned for my very non-social child.

I think the article is a bit extreme, as I'm sure was the point.  But I understand the parents' concerns on developing good social skills.  I do worry about the lack of honest exploration, creativity and prioritization of down time.

I'm also grappling with utter disappointment in the current school structures in the US.  Our school system is pretty bad.  I believed in the hype of a highly regarded private school locally.  Drank the Kool-Aid and got DS in.  Once in, it's the same disappointment just with a different socioeconomic group.  And in private school, I learned the administration sees parents as checkbooks. 

But it was a process to learn this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Mon, 07-29-2013 - 8:53pm

Ladybug, I have found that as online socializing becomes more prominent and face-to-face socializing less so, I am less concerned about my son's ability to read social cues. In person, he is somewhat clueless, but online, playing League of Legends or some other online game, he's practically a king. He has friends (some of whom he knows IRL) who respect his skills and intuition, and who don't make fun of him for not being able to cite sports statistics or throw a ball with any degree of accuracy.

While I don't want to make light of the real challenges faced by kids with Asperger's, my sense is the world that they inherit will be a lot friendlier to them than the one I grew up in. It's what keeps me sane when I read depressing crap like the Post article!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 12:37am

That's an interesting observation. I've noticed the same thing with my ds. He has always tended to be shy and resistent to new social situations, lacking the confidence and lacking in the social "approach skills" that lubricate interactions in the face-to-face world. But he too has always been incredibly adept with social interactions in the on-line world. He is taken seriously because he presents himself well, because he is even-minded, honest and respectful, and because he lubricates and mediates others' interactions when appropriate. He has developed a lot of confidence in on-line situations and a really positive self-concept.

And on-line interactions have proven to be a very good tool for him to initiate and deepen real-world friendships. Girls, for example ... he's shy and withdrawn around the girls he likes in real life, until he's broken the ice via FB messaging or chat, and pretty soon that's become late-night Skype sessions, and the next thing I know I catch them making out in the living room. So yeah, far from isoluting them from the real world, what I've observed is that the on-line world provides a handy social on-ramp for introverts. 

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

Avatar for cmlisab
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2011
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 8:10pm

This totally reminds of a documentary I watched called "Nursery University" about the extreme amounts of money and time parents were paying to get their kids into a "good" private preschool. I have no doubt that "recreation consultants" are now part of this ridiculous process. Sigh.

However, for kids on spectrum, I could definitely see the benefit. My youngest DS participated in an after-school "social skills" group a couple years ago which was a great help to him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2007
Tue, 10-01-2013 - 8:24pm

I can see both sides.

I took ds#1 at age 5 to register for Kindergarten at a Catholic school.  We went in for 'testing' and they told us to come back next year!  (This still blows me away.)  He wasn't docile enough for them.