Should We Be Pushy Parents?

Should we be pushy parents? Or should we let the school decide how much our children should learn?


As a parent we all want our children to do well. Children learn at their own individual pace, some may excel in one area and others in another area.

Some children breeze through the first period in school, then struggle later on, other children may take a while to get to grips with school, then come on leaps and bounds. There is no right or wrong, every child is individual.

I have always thought that teachers are there to assess and identify each child’s stage of learning, to ensure they are sufficiently stimulated and continuing to progress, after all, how else are children going to learn? I have never been a pushy parent, it doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

Teachers are trained, I am not. I don’t know how well my children should be reading at their age or how many sums they should be able to do. However, I do know my child and I do know when my child is not being stimulated or is reading books that are far too easy.

For weeks now my son has been breezing through his reading books every night, without faltering on the words and with true understanding of the content. This suggests to me he needed to go up a level. In his own time he was reading books, far more difficult than the school were providing, yet every night he would come home with the same old books.

Last week I had a discussion with my friend whose daughter is in my sons class and she felt exactly the same about her daughter. That week, we both wrote in their homework diaries, “the reading books are too easy, please can they go up a level”.

Then a miracle happened…..they both did!! I asked my son if people listen to him read in school, he said no. No wonder they don’t know when to put them up a level.

Maybe I shouldn’t have left it so long before actually stating the books are too easy, but, I believe, it is not for me to decide if my son is ready for the next stage of learning.

I don’t like being a pushy parent, but it looks like I may have to be, especially as my son appears to have quite a thirst for learning. He has been asking me to set him some times table questions!

I would never have done extra maths in my spare time as a child! He clearly likes to be stimulated!

What do you think, is it up to the parents to push their children forward? Or should the school be continually assessing each child and teach accordingly?

Have you had similar situations?

12 thoughts on “Should We Be Pushy Parents?”

  1. We had a similar thing with both our kids and both were moved up. However as the books get harder we were told it’s more about their understanding of the story so although they might be able to read the words perfectly well they also need to be able to explain it.

  2. Yes the teacher should continually be assessing and teaching to the needs of your child. I wouldn’t take offence if a parent said to me that they thought a reading book I had set was too easy for their child.

    Has the teacher actually set that book or did your son choose it for himself? I’ve had parents say that they think their child should be in a higher maths set but unfortunately their work in class doesn’t reflect this and I will always provide the parent with evidence as to why this is the case.

    In my opinion I would definitely share your thoughts with the teacher and just say that you feel they are coasting and would like some extra challenge xx

  3. Isn’t being a parent the hardest thing to do? I am not in the least bit pushy, gently encouraging yes, but pushy , no. I believe that if you push anything or anyone too much it/they will start to resist. Which totally defeats the object.

    How are children ever going to learn to know themselves if parents are constantly behind them pushing? You did right with the reading though, you may feel as if you could have spoken up earlier, but the important thing is that your son is now reading harder books now.

    Teachers may be trained in how to teach our children, but we are the ones that know are children, so it is up to us to say whether we think our children can be encouraged to move up a stage or if they are battling to be taken down a stage. What matters is that our children are stimulated enough for them and the joy of learning isn’t damaged.

  4. Teachers don’t always have the time to hear children read (outside of group guided reading sessions) so I’m sure they don’t mind if you let them know that your child is coasting along, with another 29 in the class and a mountain of paperwork to do sometimes these things slip a little,

  5. I don’t think you were being pushy, you were just parenting and I’m sure teachers actually appreciate a bit of input from parents – and by that I do mean ‘input’ as opposed to us laying down the law! Teachers are very busy, it’s unsurprising that, even with assessments, that occasionally children may slip through the cracks when it comes to a reading level.

    It’s our job to help keep our children interested in learning, it’s one of the best foundations we can help lay for them.

  6. I would say its a balance between both really. As my daughter is only a toddler I have all this to come! I don’t think you are pushy at all and sometimes it obviously makes a difference to shout up x

  7. I would have thought it was the teacher that should have kept an eye on each individual child and know when to put them up a level. Its surprising it took you writing in his book for them to realise!

  8. It’s a difficult balance.

    I do believe that we shouldn’t be *telling* teachers what to do, but our school is constantly telling us that there should be a school/parent partnership (which as far as I can tell is code for “you’ve got to pull some weight too”), so I don’t see what’s wrong in making a suggestion if the evidence of our own eyes suggests they’re ready to move up.

    At the same time, I’m wary of pushing too hard too soon and potentially undermining our kids’ confidence by overreaching – I don’t want my desire for my kids to do well to exceed their capacity to cope with it.

  9. Hmm yes this is tricky, I have had similar with my eldest. I absolutely do not envy the job of the teacher, and I think they do an amazing job with 30ish children to teach.

    I diligently read each new book each night with my son, and judging by his diary the teacher or TA reads with him on average once a week… So I’m wondering if I wasn’t doing that at home then what would happen?

    This panics me massively as I’ve another two children about to enter the system, and how am I going to do this x3 each night????!!!!

  10. It doesn’t sound like you were being pushy, just gently informing the teacher that you thought your son might need to move forward.

    We are still a way off the school stage but you’ve definitely given me some food for thought about gently assisting my child’s learning when we do get there x

  11. I think your making good points. My son is currently working hard (by he’s own accord) to reach “green” stage in Maths, which I am very proud of, and I know he can do very simply, he is already there, but he needs to remain there he tells me. 🙂

  12. I think that you should keep an eye, just like you did, and if you have doubts ask the teacher. They are not faultless and with so many kids in the class they don’t know your child as well as you do.

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