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Childhood Performance More of a Focus Than Ever Before

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Our children are anxious, and they're getting more so every day.

Even before the pandemic, anxiety among the kids in our country was increasing at an alarming rate, and the situation has only gotten worse.

I'm not a psychologist or a researcher, but I am a parent, and it's incumbent upon me to give my kids the best chance at mental health.

Some factors parents cannot choose: the genes we've passed along to our children that make them more susceptible to anxiety, the unavoidable tough patches in life, and the friends they'll make, friends who will either reinforce or contradict their parents' approach.

We can choose, however, the amount of pressure we put on children to achieve.

I've been thinking about that a lot lately, as our kids' schools have begun to emphasize scholastic performance at earlier and earlier ages.

 

Recently, my husband and I attended a parent-teacher conference for our 3-year-old (an activity in which I feel certain my own parents would not have had either the opportunity or the desire to engage). At the meeting, one of our son's teachers mentioned that he wasn't up to speed on some of his shapes.

"Buy flashcards," she suggested.

Her comment concerned me, not because I had any intention of quizzing my toddler on what a rhombus is, but because I'm sure there are other parents who, worried their child might be falling behind his fellow preschoolers, would.

In fact, one classmate was recently moved to another room after his mom said he wasn't "learning anything."

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