The paradox of pushing kids to rank first in class

The paradox of pushing kids to rank first in class

The modern school-going child is embedded in a culture driven by perfectionism and competition. Our kids live in an environment where the success of an individual is defined by appearance, performance and status. Sadly, these values are transmitted non-verbally and even reinforced by parents who push their children to be toppers in their classes. Schools are supposed to help build talent, develop gifts and educate children in preparation for a successful career and wholesome life. However, with the presence of a ranking system that has transformed schools to arenas where kids compete to come first and those who rank lowly sometimes get shunned.

Schools are supposed to help build talent, develop gifts and educate children in preparation for a successful career and wholesome life

Most parents tell their kids to be toppers in their classes with the best of intentions. It is normal for a parent to want their kids to succeed and not left behind in a competitive world. However, the notion that being first is the only way to succeed academically is totally misconstrued. This article is a brief but detailed analysis of how pressuring kids to be first in their classes affects them.

Why does pressuring kids to be toppers in their classes backfire?

Ironically, parents’ hyper vigilance to top in class backfires both academically and physiologically. When a parent become overly invested in their children coming first, kids become unable to develop their on sustainable motivation.

 pressuring kids

Further making the stakes too high engenders fear in your kid, leading kid to avert possible failure at all costs. When your child becomes solely focused on topping in class inhibits their curiosity to face new challenge outside the classroom. Here is a brief but detailed outline of the detrimental effects of forcing your child to be ranked first in a classroom.

Leads to self esteem issues

Reliable studies have ascertained that parents are in fact the worst judges of their kids’ academic abilities. This is because as a parent your emotional investment blinds you from seeing that your child may not be an A student. Instead of identifying and accepting their child’ abilities then encouraging to work harder, most parents get caught up and end up pushing their kids too far.

Leads to self esteem issues

When your child is doing their best, but you constantly force them to compete and compare them to other, you end up humiliating and embarrassing them –so they continually fail. Instead of helping build their self esteem so that they can improve academically, pushing your kid to rank first can make your child feel pressured, stressed, anxious and withdrawn. Consistently pushing your kid to rank first in class makes them develop a negative sense of self because of poor performance.

Ultimately, nothing is more important than a happy and a healthy child who is determined to succeed

Forcing your kids to rank first in class can burn out other developing interests

Forcing your kids to rank first in class can burn out other developing interests

Our education system is extremely demanding and requires kid to spend a huge percentage of their time in class. Consistently pressurizing your child to rank first in class will make school a high-stress environment. Good academic performance requires a child to enjoy school. Rather than advancing in overall development, forced academic performance can inhibit a child from enjoying school work. Your kid may even begin viewing academic work negatively and in extreme cases can loose interest in school all together.

 burn out other developing interests

The negative connotation may cause your child to miss out on other fun activities in school such as sports, drama and leadership positions. Being pushed to rank first prevents kid from learning how to manage their own life and naturally develop their on interest. Eventually, this damage a child’ overall wellness and this stunts their creativity.

Resentment

Ultimately, nothing is more important than a happy and a healthy child who is determined to succeed. Constantly and consistently pushing your child to be a topper in class may cause your kids to end up resenting. When a child is doing their best and getting no acknowledgement or appreciation, it makes them feel un-valued and un-loved. The last thing you want as a parent is your child feeling like they are a failure or an embarrassment even when they are working hard. Resentment builds gradually and can severely strain the parent-child bond thereby causing your child to top voicing their need to you.

Resentment

As a parent, the lines of communication need to remain open so that you can effectively parent your child. If your school-going child cannot openly talk to you, he/ she may keep the feelings bottled up causing them to become emotionally dependent on persons who don’t have their best interest at heart.

Pushing your child to rank first in class hinders growth in gifted areas

Pushing your child to rank first in class hinders growth in gifted areas

Although some kids are able to perform excellently in all subjects, others are particularly gifted in some area such as mathematics and science; forcing your child to rank first means they will have to struggle so that they top in class in all subject. You may be hindering your kid from becoming an expert in a subject they are gifted in imply because you are consumed with perfectionism and being first in everything even when it drains your child.

When a parent is focused on their child being first, kids become obsessed with academic work and loose interest in everything else

A child who is emotionally stable and well rounded needs unsupervised time to read, write, think, draw, create, build, fantasize and explore special interests. These activities foster and promote self awareness by helping kids learn who they are and what they want. A child obsessed with topping their class will bury themselves in books and have no free time to be a kid. When your child’s activities are too programmed, they have no time to experiment, have fun and self-discovery. This leads to a robot-minded child who has no idea what to do or who they are outside the classroom.

kids become obsessed with academic work and loose interest in everything else

Although focusing on topping classes has many cons, it can be argued that it prepares a child for the ‘real world’ where competition is the norm. Every parent should know that there are better ways to prepare your child to face challenges outside school other than forcing them to rank first. Here are alternative ways to help a child succeed academically without stunting their development or affecting their happy and healthy childhood.

  1. Encourage your child to do their best both academically and in any other area they show interest
  2. Appreciate and encourage improvement instead of expecting and demanding perfection
  3. Avoid comparing your child to other who rank higher in class, instead compare how they perform now and how they performed in the past. Encourage and motivate your kids to improve progressively, do not set unrealistic goals or a demanding and exhausting time table.

A child who is emotionally stable and well rounded

The role of parent in a child’ academic performance is not pushing them to be first. Your role as a parent is to help your child do their best and improve progressively. You are not your child’s supervisor; your duty is help them see when they are going wrong, cheer them on and praise and appreciate them when they are working hard. Acknowledge their effort every time they make an improvement no matter how small. Once a child a feels like they are fully supported by their parents, they will be diligent, hardworking, determined and committed to doing their best academically.

A child who is emotionally stable and well rounded needs unsupervised time to read, write, think, draw, create, build, fantasize and explore special interests