Author Topic: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"  (Read 4045 times)

Hula Hoop

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How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« on: April 27, 2019, 04:35:37 AM »
My kids are little (7 and 10) but I am looking for advice from parents of older kids.  I want to strike a balance between steering my kids gently towards more viable careers and being a laid back hippie.  My older daughter is about to start middle school and the system here in Italy is that after middle school they need to chose a type of high school that focuses on one particular area (the main choices are Classical High School (ie Latin, Ancient Greek, Ancient history as well as the core subjects like Italian, math, English and history), Science high school (lots of math and lots of science as well as the core subjects like Italian, English and Latin), Language high school (lots of foreign languages usually English, Spanish and French but sometimes also German), Art high school (lots of art plus the core subjects), music high school and various technical schools.

Anyway, out of the blue, my daughter announced a few days ago that when she finishes middle school she wants to go to art high school.  She's not particularly into art, as far as I can tell, but she says it looks fun and "math is too hard" and there's less math.  She gets good grades in all her subjects including math so this concerned me, particularly as she is a girl and I know that girls often get discouraged from liking math at around her age.

However, if she loves art, I don't want to discourage her from her dreams.  Obviously, she's 10 so will probably change her mind multiple times over the next few years but how would people handle this?  Would you break it to her that most artists struggle financially?  Or let her pursue what she likes regardless of 'practicality'?

Mongoose

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2019, 03:37:44 PM »
We have a much different system in the country where I live so I'm not sure what exactly to say that might help. One question that came up in my mind is "what are the job/career outcomes for kids who go to the art high school?" Is there a way to see the employment outcomes for the various types of schools (perhaps this is well known in your country though)?

gaja

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2019, 05:11:30 PM »
My kids are 11 and 12. The oldest has three years left in lower secondary before she needs to make a similar choice as your oldest, but already next years she will start making choices that will influence her college education. If she wants to study medicine or certain (competetive) types of science, she needs to take a second language from next year. The youngest has one more year before she has to make choices.

How do we handle the balance between pushing for goals and allowing for dreams? The lucky part for both the OP and me is that we are living in countries with free/very cheap education. Kids have room to fail a few times before landing on their feet. My brother chose a sports high school, then he went on to study music at a top conservatory, picked up a few languages and enough other education to get a teacher's degree, and now makes a living as a full time entertainer/musician. My uncle completely refused any more school when he was 15, and became a fisherman. A few years later, he went back to school, got a PhD, and ended up leading a reasearch institute. A cousin went the route ship's machinist -> engineer -> working in the oil industry and getting a PhD -> university employed (research and teaching).

I encourage my kids to not get stuck on the one big dream, but always make backup plans. The youngest is an artist; she has been singing and drawing since she was born. We have a lot of artists in the family, but all of them have good education and careers that allow them to make a living. So we have a lot of examples to point out to her; do you want to be an artist and teacher like aunt A and great aunt B, or do you want to be an artist and business owner like cousin C, or do you want to be an artist and physical therapist like great aunt D, or do you want to be an musician and electrician like great uncle E, or do you want to be like dad and only make music and art for yourself and your family? Her plan so far is to become an artist and graphical designer/illustrator, and maybe study some anthropology. That will require her to choose the school with art+core subjects+some maths and science.

One thing I will not accept from my kids, is the notion that "subject XXX is too hard". If something is difficult, you study until you have a good enough understanding. Grades and test scores are irrelevant, a bad grad just shows you still have som learning to do. But learning something is fun, and should always be the goal, no matter the subject.

KCM5

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2019, 05:15:21 PM »
Can she go on to university and study something else (science, math, business, etc) relatively easily or would she be stuck with arts for good?

Considering you’ve said she doesn’t seem particularly into art and, like you said, she’s ten(!), I’d probably spend some more time guiding her if she’d really be locking herself in with art high school. Would she be interested in the classics? That seems so much more versatile.

Apple_Tango

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2019, 09:05:54 PM »
I heard some advice recently that it is totally ok to encourage your child to be an artist, as well as they also understand the business behind it, and the reality that they might have to be a waiter while they're making art. My best friend got a double major (in a US university) in biology and art, and now she works as a marketing director for a local museum and she makes her own art on the side and has even had her pieces in a gallery.  Any change you and your daughter can go to an artist community, talk to local artists, discuss their paths, their struggles and successes, and help her make a more informed choice other than "art seems fun" and "math seems hard"?

Jesstache

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2019, 09:11:16 PM »
Oh man, "math (or any subject) is hard" is not allowed to be said in our house.  You can always say you need more practice at it or it's taking more time to really understand it but not that it's hard.  It's not hard, it just is. 

It sounds like she's intimidated by what she's heard other people say about math in the upper grades.  You know the other kids are talking about what track they're doing and why.  It's probably a big deal in the school world and she's just parroting what she's heard others say, possibly so she can be on the same track as her friends?  Maybe ask if that's why she keeps saying that and then a little pep talk to build up her self-esteem would do a world of good. 

Then I'd tell her I would be super happy to support her budding love of art by paying for all sorts of extra-curricular art classes when she gets out of classical high school class each day :)

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2019, 09:32:17 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  As an American living here, I'm kind of horrified that kids have to specialize at such a young age here.  I've heard that at least for classical and science high school (which are considered the most 'prestigious') they can always go to university and study whatever they like.  Obviously, if you study at classical high school and then do engineering you'll have a bit of catching up to do though. 

I have a friend who went to art high school and he says that it was useless for anything besides art and he felt it limited him.  Anyway we have 3 more years before she has to make a choice so we'll see.  I feel sad that she's scared of math though considering that she's always done well at it and it's so useful.


My sister is a working musician but it's been a financial struggle for her.  At the same time, she absolutely loves what she does.

Laura33

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2019, 10:05:21 AM »
The one piece of advice I heard that has stuck with me is that parents in other cultures hear "math is hard" too -- they just don't accept that as an excuse to stop doing it.  Of course math is hard, particularly when you get to more abstract ideas like algebra, which are well beyond what most kids have been asked to do at that age in any other class.  But that just means you have to study it more until you get it.

I agree that giving her more insight into the possible long-term career paths is a great idea.  We have always told our kids, since they were little, that they can follow any career they want, as long as they are willing to accept the tradeoffs that go with it.  So if they have a passion for art, then that's great.  But they then need to know what the possible career paths are and make sure to get whatever other skills are needed for those paths (business/marketing/computer skills/etc.) -- and be willing to live on that salary. 

I would also suggest that you help her develop other interests besides art, because art is something you can do as a hobby, while it's harder to do science that way.  And it is completely appropriate for you to lay down the law about your own minimum requirements, regardless of what the schools say.  IMO that is far too early for a kid to limit herself, unless it is a passion and talent that the kid has spent a lot of time focusing on for years.  So stop focusing on the HS choice now, and start nudging her to explore other things as well -- other careers she might be interested in, other interests in school.  Start talking to people who went all of the different schools and see what their university options were, what careers they were able to build from them, etc.  Personally, I would have no problem with an art-focused school, if it also provided a great education in other areas.  But it would be reasonable for you to insist that any HS option had to meet minimum criteria for quality education in a number of areas -- and if any of the schools don't pass that threshold, they're off the list.  (Or, you know, tell her she can go to the art school, as long as she's willing to spend extra time at home meeting your math/science criteria. ;-))

Finally, please don't be fixated on the math/science school.  Engineering is a great, practical career, but it is not the be-all, end-all, and is definitely not suited to everyone (speaking as someone who just went through this argument with her engineer-husband over her own daughter's college choice).  IME kids do better if they get to do something that interests them, vs. being forced into a particular path by a parent.  IOW, I think it's ok to veto any of the highly-focused schools if the "other" areas aren't up to par, but don't force a particular choice otherwise.

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2019, 12:02:43 PM »
Thanks, Laura.  I agree. My husband and I both have liberal arts degrees and have done other things with them. 

x02947

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2019, 12:55:04 PM »
Having my English/Philosophy major wife proofread my engineering papers has definitely paid dividends.  She has developed skill sets that I can only dream of through her degree and is vastly better suited to some jobs than I am, both by nature and by skill set.   

Laura33

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2019, 01:52:27 PM »
@Hula Hoop -- On a bigger-picture note, even as someone who is further along the path than you, I still doubt whether I did enough vs. too much.  My DD did not get into her favorite college, and as her world fell apart (SO the drama!), all I could do was wonder if I had been too hands-off, if I should have enforced more study time when she said "I got it, mom," or insisted on tutoring when she brought home a B (gasp!), or used my English major to edit her essays, or sent her for test prep and paid counselors to prep her for the admissions tests and interviews and all that.*  But in the end I think that if all of that work and motivation had come from me, then even if she got into her favorite school, she'd probably fall apart once she got there without me continuing to push and arrange and manage.  I know that where she's going, she's earned it on her own and so will very likely be in a place that fits who she is, not who her Tiger Mom made her look like.

More important:  my DD is independent, responsible, and capable, even as a 17-yr-old.  So I can send her off to college with complete confidence that she can manage her courses and herself (including managing her own failures), and with the same confidence that she will be able to get a job and move out of my house after.  ;-)  I feel like being a little more hands-off through the years helped me raise an adult -- which is, after all, the end goal. 

*Or, apparently, followed a completely different career path so I had an extra $500K to bribe someone. . . . 

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2019, 02:54:31 PM »

*Or, apparently, followed a completely different career path so I had an extra $500K to bribe someone. . . .

Hah! 

E_Monkey

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2019, 08:49:13 PM »
I am a working commercial artist. I don't often comment, but I would like to dispel a few myths.

1) "The arts don't pay." I made very good money for many years working as an artist within Corporate America. I have a nice 401k, other investment income, own my own home, and own investment property. I am now in the process of starting my own business.

2) "Art school is easier than other schools." Art school is quite difficult. If you don't believe me, stop right now and go do a basic Art 101 exercise: mixing up your own paints to match exactly a paint store multi-swatch sample strip.

3)
I heard some advice recently that it is totally ok to encourage your child to be an artist, as well as they also understand the business behind it, and the reality that they might have to be a waiter while they're making art.
There are many kinds of artists. Not every artist has to do art on the side while doing a day job just to pay the bills. Some fields in the art world are ridiculously underpaid, and others pay ridiculously well. This is one of those situations where it literally pays to do your research before deciding on a specialization. I have a friend who achieved the pinnacle of her arts profession in the United States, then faced up to the fact that her income was below poverty level and likely to stay that way if she continued. She changed careers. Another friend went to an Ivy League school but continued to play music, graduated, and took his college band on the road. He is now a internationally known musician, and owns his own home as well as a lot of investment property.

4) Lastly, I attended an academic magnet high school. I've connected with other graduates in the arts over the years and we agree that the message we got was that art wasn't for smart, college-bound people. Well, in the years since we graduated, our town has become a lifestyle magnet due to... the arts.

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2019, 02:04:51 AM »
E-monkey - can you elaborate - what kind of commercial artist works within corporate America?  Do you mean you're a graphic designer?  Sorry for my ignorance.

As I mentioned above, my sister is a professional musician.  She is able to support herself 100% through music, which is a major acheivement in the music world.  Many of her friends are not about to do this and they work regular day jobs.  If my kids were anything like my sister in their pure love of a particular arts field, I would encourage them to just go for it.  In my daughter's case, though, she's only 10 and has never shown any particular love for visual arts until now.  In fact, she's always loved music.  So I suspect that her desire to go to art high school has a lot to do with its perceived lack of academic rigor.

momoneymama

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2019, 05:31:21 PM »
I studied art. I have an associates degree in graphic design. That is the only degree I have. I make 100K a year, have a great agency job with matching 401k, unlimited PTO, excellent health insurance. It is a myth that art doesn't pay well. You can do very well with an art background.

I'm an American and not familiar with the Italian school structure, so can't weigh in there. But as a previous poster said, don't be so quick to dismiss the potential in art.

lhamo

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2019, 08:37:04 PM »
We have been dealing with a similar issue.  I had my DD take the qualifying tests for the gifted program in our public school system, which meant she was eligible for a seat in a nearby school that offers the IB program.  I did the IB myself in high school, so I know it is difficult but also excellent prep for college.  But DD really doesn't want to go there -- she wants to go to the school for our neighborhood, which is where most of her friends will be going.  It is much less academically rigorous, though she can always do the Running Start program, which allows her to complete an Associates degree at the local community colleges simultaneously with her last two years of high school coursework.

We agreed to let her choose the local school, with the understanding that she needs to continue to challenge herself academically AND participate in a wide range of activities in order to ensure she is competitive for college. We will not push her to get into a highly selective school, but she needs to be aiming for something that will be challenging and prepare her well for post-college life.  She has already agreed to do a career prep course this summer.  So far so good.  Oh, she is a very talented artist but already knows she does not want to do art for a living -- afraid it will take all the enjoyment out of it for her.

FWIW, her dad is an Asian Tiger dad (though a relatively laid back one).  I am the mushy hamster mom.

cats

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2019, 01:09:40 PM »
I was reasonably good at math but found it "hard" and therefore wasn't inclined to push myself to do more with it in my early teens.  I was lucky that my dad had a math degree and so he was willing (and able) to work with me through some of the harder concepts.  Honestly he did pretty much make me take more advanced math classes up until my junior year of HS, at which point I planned to drop math BUT then wound up with scheduling problems--some class I had planned to take to fulfill requirements for a higher level IB course wasn't available and so my "best" alternative was to do higher level math for IB, which meant taking stats and calculus my senior year.  My father was THRILLED.  Anyway, we had some fights about it but he was always quite firm that he felt I would be bored out of my mind in easier math classes and to a certain extent I could see he was right just by looking at who was in the easier math classes, so I guess I went along with it.  He also stressed a lot that it would be hard to "catch up" on math if I decided later that I wanted to study something that required a lot of math, so encouraged me to take as much as I could in HS.  Overall my high school had a similar mentality so he didn't stand out as especially "Tiger Dad"--there were definitely kids doing more math or with higher expectations from parents. When I got to university I was REALLY happy my dad had pushed me to take all those math classes because it gave me a lot more options for what subject to study and made it much easier for me to pursue as science major (which I started off thinking I would not want to do but quickly realized was much more interesting to me than my initial choice of international relations).

In your case, I would probably try to look into what the outcomes are for kids at the different tracks of high schools (which I realize may be hard to get data for), to decide for yourself how much it really matters.  If there is a substantial difference between the different classes, I would remind your daughter that it is good to challenge yourself, or that she will have more options of what to do in university/as a career if she picks a certain school.  Ultimately, if there is a clear benefit to one school, at her age I think you are free as the parent to say she has to go to the school YOU think is best.  Just make sure you really believe yourself that the choice you are making for her is the best one available, as that will (hopefully) allow you to stay calm and firm if she protests.

mm1970

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2019, 01:55:50 PM »
@Hula Hoop -- On a bigger-picture note, even as someone who is further along the path than you, I still doubt whether I did enough vs. too much.  My DD did not get into her favorite college, and as her world fell apart (SO the drama!), all I could do was wonder if I had been too hands-off, if I should have enforced more study time when she said "I got it, mom," or insisted on tutoring when she brought home a B (gasp!), or used my English major to edit her essays, or sent her for test prep and paid counselors to prep her for the admissions tests and interviews and all that.*  But in the end I think that if all of that work and motivation had come from me, then even if she got into her favorite school, she'd probably fall apart once she got there without me continuing to push and arrange and manage.  I know that where she's going, she's earned it on her own and so will very likely be in a place that fits who she is, not who her Tiger Mom made her look like.

More important:  my DD is independent, responsible, and capable, even as a 17-yr-old.  So I can send her off to college with complete confidence that she can manage her courses and herself (including managing her own failures), and with the same confidence that she will be able to get a job and move out of my house after.  ;-)  I feel like being a little more hands-off through the years helped me raise an adult -- which is, after all, the end goal. 

*Or, apparently, followed a completely different career path so I had an extra $500K to bribe someone. . . .

I like this, and I like to look at the big picture also.  My elder child is in junior high and is VERY hard working and self motivated.  But...I don't think he realizes exactly what is required to get into a school of his choice.  He has his eye set on Cal Tech (or, I assume, a college of a similar level).  While I'm pretty sure he would be able to handle it - it's not an easy school to get into.  As his mom, I think - well, he'll be fine wherever he goes.  Doesn't have to go to a top 10 eng school.  (My husband and I both did, but it was WAY different in the 80s).

I've explained, briefly, that in order to be considered for that caliber of school - he will be required to take a specific set of pre-requisites.  In our area, that means getting your language out of the way early (oops, too late), compacting every math class you can, taking as many classes at the local CC as possible, leaving you open to take all the advanced science and math classes in high school.  Oh, and being near the top of your class.  So, he said "yuck".  He loves computers and math and science, but his current elective is Industrial Tech (shop)/ art combo.  And next year will be Industrial tech...which even though it includes 3D printing and programming is NOT the "college bound choice" (that would be programming or Spanish).  I would MUCH rather he takes the classes that he enjoys.  It's junior high and high school, for crying out loud.

On to the "Math is hard".  You know, it is for some people, and that's ok.  I had a college roommate who was an Industrial design major (in the art school), and she had to take Calc 1 and 2 for ROTC, and she flunked Calc 1 twice.  She ended up taking it at the local community college.  I think that taking it in an engineering school was her downfall, the TAs just weren't able to explain it.  Likewise, our local babysitter is trying to complete her Associate's degree in early childhood education, and she's STRUGGLING with math (which I think is algebra).  She's almost done, and just wants to pass.  But it's a nailbiter.  She's 38 and I have to give her kudos for working really hard to get this degree (she works as a preschool teacher.)

And art in general, I know a few people who are successful artists.  The Industrial design major ended up getting an MBA.  A high school classmate is a fantastic sculptor in bronze (and I realized at one point that one of her sculptures is only 30 miles away from me!)  My kids love art, and even if they never *do* it for a job, it's a great skill to have.

ysette9

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2019, 08:51:45 PM »
I find it sad this focus on choosing a course so early in life. Most of us have no clue who we are or what we want to do or can understand the consequences of our choices in a school at 18, let alone 10!

I coasted through HS though got good grades, spent a year as an exchange student in france (in littéraire), went to junior college to figure stuff out when I got home, and finally found my way to engineering. I did not take calculus in high school. Hell, I put myself back to Algebra II in junior college because I felt my math background was shaky and I wanted to make sure I understood what was going on before advancing.

Maybe things have changed since the early oughts, but I hope not. You don’t HAVE to get every step right and be in advanced everything and be doing Calculus II in high school to get into a top engineering school. I have two engineering degrees from two “west coast ivies” and I took Algebra II for the second time in college.

jeninco

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2019, 09:53:49 PM »
I wanted to respond to the through-thread of "Math is hard."

Because, - yep! that's the point! You get to do something hard, and be stuck for a while, and then hopefully get the experience of the flash of insight when you get unstuck! The best math teachers will pose a problem that the students are basically prepared to handle, and then be quiet for an alarming amount of time to give them a chance to think about it.

Singapore math has a list of tactics that we taught in Math Olympiad for "what you can do when you're faced with a math problem you don't know how to approach" They are:

Draw a picture
Look for a pattern
Guess and check
Make a systematic List
Use logical reasoning
Work backwards

http://www.thesingaporemaths.com/stratf.html

(Additional Tactics include:try to write an equation, and just write something <-- because if you can just get some marks on a paper, sometimes it's easier to get going.)

Goldielocks

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2019, 10:36:13 PM »
DD just finished her 2nd year of fine arts at university.  FWIW I am an engineer and Dad is a programmer / robotics type.

I am amazed how alike DD and DH think.  Both are exceptionally creative with ideas.  DH with Physics in particular, DD with, well everything.

I ensured that she take a sampling of different courses, get at least one hard science and full university qualifying math.  She did well, but not a passion.     The courses were to ensure she could apply for most university programs, if she wanted to, but her choice on what to major in / take.  I talked a lot about maintaining options for you to choose from.   

I also ensured that she take the first year of a trade program (commercial painter), so she had a fall back skill that would pay a living wage, if she chose a low paying (entrepreneurial) starting career.   It also pays well as a summer job to pay bills.

She loves the art program more and more each year, and it is obviously the right fit for her.  She is now interested (finally) in the more commercial side of the arts (digital arts) that could pay decent money.

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2019, 02:28:40 AM »
Goldielocks - I have to admit that I sometimes envy my sister who has an over-riding passion for music and who works as a professional classical musician.  Even though she doesn't earn much she has an amazing life doing work that she loves and interacting with others who share the same passion.  Luckily for her, she is able to live above her means (although she is by no means a spendypants) as her husband makes a better salary.  Even without that, though, she would absolutely be doing what she does. 

I think that for someone with an over-riding passion for the arts, they should at least try it out when they're young.  Many of my sister's classmates from the Conservatory have tried out music careers and then switched gears in their early 30s into more practical fields.  But it was important that they had a chance to pursue their passion when young and then decide by themselves that they didn't want that life.

Trifele

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2019, 07:28:02 AM »
Our kids are 13 and 16, and we frequently talk college and future plans with them.  Our 13 yo DS doesn't really have a direction yet.   Our 16 yo DD is a very serious artist (it's in her blood and bones).   Both do well academically across the board. 

College is right around the corner for our daughter.  The 'Tiger' in me wants to tell her "No you absolutely cannot major in art in college", but I'm not going to do that.  I think she has to find her own way.  She has a good head on her shoulders and loads of common sense.  What I AM going to do -- for both kids -- is to (a) make sure they get as broad an education as possible leading up to college, and (b) educate them financially and make sure they can do a rational cost/benefit analysis on future potential jobs.

FWIW, our DD never asked to focus exclusively on art in high school, but I would have said no to that.  IMO that would be too soon to narrow one's academic focus so much.

Imma

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2019, 10:55:41 AM »
In my country we also have to make this choice at a very young age. My parents weren't able to help us make this choice as they only had a few years of vocational high school themselves and knew nothing about higher education, but we had good advisors at school. The only thing my parents insisted on was going to a high school that allowed us to go to university. One of my siblings still ended up doing a vocational program after the science track in high school, but this way all options were open to us. I'm glad they did that - we all had the academic abilities to go to university so there's no point in cutting off that path for a 12 year old.

Other than that, they didn't push us in any direction. The track I chose was focused on economic subjects (economics, bookkeeping, some maths) and I mainly chose it because those were my best subjects - not necessarily my favourite ones. I eventually ended up in tax law and have had side hustles in bookkeeping ever since high school. At my school I was able to take some extra subjects in more 'fun' subjects like philosophy, art and music as well so I didn't just have 'sensible' subjects.

The vocational school sibling is a self taught artist, very talented but isn't interested in art as a career. Another of my siblings went to art school after languages high school and now has a job in a field related to art.

Honestly if art is someone's true passion and talent, they should pursue that. It certainly doesn't mean they're going to be poor forever, I know more than a few artists who make good money. If it's not a big passion but something that interests them, maybe there's a way to combine a more academic high school with some arts education (at school or through extracurricular activities). I know people are very pro-engineering/science on MMM and if that's where their talents are, that's great, if not, there are plenty of career options outside of STEM-subjects.

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2019, 10:59:56 AM »
Imma - thanks, nice to hear from someone who survived this crazy push to specialize at such a young age that they seem to have in some European countries.  I think it's crazy to specialize in either humanities or science (or art or whatever else) at age 14 (choice has to be made at age 13) but that's the system we have here so there's not much we can do about it. 

gaja

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2019, 11:16:03 AM »
Imma - thanks, nice to hear from someone who survived this crazy push to specialize at such a young age that they seem to have in some European countries.  I think it's crazy to specialize in either humanities or science (or art or whatever else) at age 14 (choice has to be made at age 13) but that's the system we have here so there's not much we can do about it.

Some people have no interest or talent for theory. Giving them the opportunity to choose vocational school at an early age reduces the chance of them dropping out.

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2019, 11:44:23 AM »
Imma - thanks, nice to hear from someone who survived this crazy push to specialize at such a young age that they seem to have in some European countries.  I think it's crazy to specialize in either humanities or science (or art or whatever else) at age 14 (choice has to be made at age 13) but that's the system we have here so there's not much we can do about it.

Some people have no interest or talent for theory. Giving them the opportunity to choose vocational school at an early age reduces the chance of them dropping out.

I guess so but why make this decision at 13?  Here in Italy, it's often based on social class rather than aptitude because at age 13 what your parents think counts for so much.  There's a technical high school right near my house and 99% of the students are male and they speak a strong local dialect which generally indicates lower class in the city where I live.  My husband's 3 siblings all went to technical schools because they are working class.  Husband only ended up in the college bound high school (liceo) because of the efforts of one of his teachers as he was #1 in his class in several subjects. Despite his good grades, his parents had never thought about sending him to liceo.  However, middle and upper class kids pretty much all go to liceo even the ones who don't do well at school.

Imma

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #27 on: May 11, 2019, 02:08:00 PM »
Imma - thanks, nice to hear from someone who survived this crazy push to specialize at such a young age that they seem to have in some European countries.  I think it's crazy to specialize in either humanities or science (or art or whatever else) at age 14 (choice has to be made at age 13) but that's the system we have here so there's not much we can do about it.

Some people have no interest or talent for theory. Giving them the opportunity to choose vocational school at an early age reduces the chance of them dropping out.

I guess so but why make this decision at 13?  Here in Italy, it's often based on social class rather than aptitude because at age 13 what your parents think counts for so much.  There's a technical high school right near my house and 99% of the students are male and they speak a strong local dialect which generally indicates lower class in the city where I live.  My husband's 3 siblings all went to technical schools because they are working class.  Husband only ended up in the college bound high school (liceo) because of the efforts of one of his teachers as he was #1 in his class in several subjects. Despite his good grades, his parents had never thought about sending him to liceo.  However, middle and upper class kids pretty much all go to liceo even the ones who don't do well at school.

Yes, that's a big problem in here too. The choices I made are very typical for a first generation college student. Latin and ancient Greek sounded interesting to me but I had no conception at all of how learning a long dead language could be useful in real life, so classical highschool (called gymnasium in here) wasn't something that appealed to me.  To this day I don't think I've ever met someone who went to classical highschool who didn't have parents with a degree.

I knew I wasn't good enough in maths to do science, so I chose economics, because I knew what kind of work a bookkeeper did. When I went to university, I chose law because again, that was a subject that meant something to me. Law school is a popular choice for first generation college students and first generation immigrants. I took some history classes on the side (never completed that degree, might do that some time) because history was my favourite subject in school but I never for a second even considered it as a career. I knew I didn't want to go into teaching, and what else could you possibly do with a history degree?

In here you take a test age 12, which, together with the advice of your primary school teacher, decides to which level of high school you can be admitted. Then after the second or third year of highschool (so age 14 or 15) you choose a specialization. We know from research that both the test and the teacher's advice are very biased and the results strongly correlate to social class and parents' level of education.

My partner and I are both from working class backgrounds. We ended up in pre-university highschool because we did very well in the tests and were kind of "geeks" in primary school. Our teachers figured we were clever enough. We have many friends who were sent to vocational highschools because they didn't do as well in the tests and they weren't "geeky" kids. Eventually most of them went to university but it was a long road for them (you need to complete a 4-year vocational school first, with good grades). No middle class kids seem to go to vocational schools. If they aren't academically strong, there's a Steiner highschool in my city where taking final exams is optional.

There is some flexibility in our system: as long as you go to a pre-university level school and don't drop maths, you can get into most languages and social science programs. STEM programs are more difficult to get into without the right qualifications. Art and music schools generally value portfolio and talent much more than academic background. You'd have to research how flexible the Italian system is. If there's little flexibility I do think it would be best to slightly push your daughter in the direction of the type of school that allows her to keep her future options most open, so she can choose from many different programs if she decides to go to university. She's way too young to limit herself to art school at this age.

calimom

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2019, 07:21:29 PM »
Goldielocks - I have to admit that I sometimes envy my sister who has an over-riding passion for music and who works as a professional classical musician.  Even though she doesn't earn much she has an amazing life doing work that she loves and interacting with others who share the same passion.  Luckily for her, she is able to live above her means (although she is by no means a spendypants) as her husband makes a better salary.  Even without that, though, she would absolutely be doing what she does. 

I think that for someone with an over-riding passion for the arts, they should at least try it out when they're young.  Many of my sister's classmates from the Conservatory have tried out music careers and then switched gears in their early 30s into more practical fields.  But it was important that they had a chance to pursue their passion when young and then decide by themselves that they didn't want that life.

In my own small family I have DD1, 25. From a very young age it was clear she was drawn to the art world. She came into my life as my stepdaughter at age 7/8. She and I visited many museums and did art projects together till she was in her teens. Most camps and extra curricular she chose were art related, and was awarded a fairly significant full scholarship to an arts college (CCA for anyone in California). Upon graduation, she continued to live as a student and worked 3 jobs to stay afloat. Quite recently she's gotten a position with a theater company in the Bay Area. The pay is not great, but she has benefits and is now part of something that fully engages her and uses her talents. She's happy and I'm happy for her. She's someone who would not be a good fit for any sort of corporate job.

DS is soon to be 17 and has managed to be an average student. He's had interests in astronomy and robotics but just in passing. He's focused on Fire Sciences and hoping he will be admitted to a program at a state college in fall of 2020. He's athletic enough but not a swim star and fine with it. He doesn't shy away from physical work. I'll see how his path unfolds.

DD2is 12 and overall a good student. It seems too soon to know what direction she might go in. Over spring break she spent a few days with my best friend who does some sort of digital marketing for a tech company. She was impressed by the office and the work to some degree, but at various times she's wanted to own a pink ice cream truck or be a teacher. This summer she's helping a work from home neighbor who has two boys 4 and 6 a couple of hours a day. Already she has 'lesson plans' and activities to do with the kids. I'm sure wherever she goes in life it will be fine.

I'm most assuredly not a Tiger Mom, and have often wondered if I've under-directed them, but it's so hard to know! Their late father was a software developer and it's just hard to know how his influence might have played out. They've always seen me working in high satisfaction/not high paying creative class work and while that's not any sort of terrible thing, it is a factor. Like probably most parents, I just want to see my offspring happy and self sufficient.

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #29 on: May 12, 2019, 01:10:41 AM »
I have a fine art degree and work in a field that requires both artistic and technical skills. While work can be sporadic, I do make good money; my highest earning year was $180k.

So, it's important to consider that not all artists are starving, and there will always be a demand for talented and hard working creative people. Sending your child to an art school could lead to a exciting range of career paths and a spectrum of income possibilities.

Also, I think one of our primary goals as parents is to raise children that grow up to be happy adults, not necessarily high-income adults, right?

« Last Edit: May 12, 2019, 01:12:37 AM by jpdx »

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2019, 01:44:37 AM »
Yes, that's a big problem in here too. The choices I made are very typical for a first generation college student. Latin and ancient Greek sounded interesting to me but I had no conception at all of how learning a long dead language could be useful in real life, so classical highschool (called gymnasium in here) wasn't something that appealed to me.  To this day I don't think I've ever met someone who went to classical highschool who didn't have parents with a degree.

I didn't realize that they had this system of classical high school in other European countries.  I thought it was an Italian thing since they speak a language based on Latin and are very old fashioned in many ways.  Can you explain to me what the deal is with classical high schools in your country?  I've never understood why so many highly educated parents here want their kids to spend years studying Latin and Ancient Greek.  I tutored a girl who was at a classical high school in English when I first moved here and she hardly knew any English but she was spending tons of money and time studying Ancient Greek and Latin.  I guess I'm a philistine but in a country like Italy where the foreign language level is generally poor but no one speaks Italian outside Italy, you'd think that time would be better spend on English, German and other living languages.  My Italian friends all tell me that studying Ancient Greek and Latin 'teaches you how to study' and "exercises your brain" in a way that other pursuits don't.  I find it kind of strange. 

Imma

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2019, 02:54:04 AM »
Teaching children Latin and ancient Greek is a centuries old tradition that stems from the time when Latin wasn't a dead language but had the status that English has these days. Those schools were usually connected to churches or monasteries and a part of the students were expected to join the clergy. Knowledge of Latin and ancient Greek is necessary to study the Bible and old philosophers and theologians. In my country, up until the 60s classical highschool was the only path to university. Now it's just a tradition. Plus the schools are usually full of middle/upper class white kids - this way you can pretend you're not racist, you just want the best possible education for your kids.

I learned basic Latin as an adult but never learned Greek. When I took history classes at university I used translations of the required texts. In our schools, we already have to study French, German and English. For me learning 3 foreign languages at the same time was a big enough challenge without adding two more. The similarities between the languages just added to the confusion instead of making it easier.

Latin and Greek are taught in a very structered way focused on grammar and translation (instead of the conversational way modern languages are taught) and it requires a ton of concentration, I'm sure it has some benefits, but I do think learning to speak modern languages reasonably well is much more useful.

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #32 on: May 12, 2019, 03:01:38 AM »
Yes, that's a big problem in here too. The choices I made are very typical for a first generation college student. Latin and ancient Greek sounded interesting to me but I had no conception at all of how learning a long dead language could be useful in real life, so classical highschool (called gymnasium in here) wasn't something that appealed to me.  To this day I don't think I've ever met someone who went to classical highschool who didn't have parents with a degree.

I didn't realize that they had this system of classical high school in other European countries.  I thought it was an Italian thing since they speak a language based on Latin and are very old fashioned in many ways.  Can you explain to me what the deal is with classical high schools in your country?  I've never understood why so many highly educated parents here want their kids to spend years studying Latin and Ancient Greek.

In Belgium we also have classical high school and this is the path I chose back then.
Note that in Belgium the official languages are Dutch, French and much less prominently German; I am a French speaker.

Classical high school was traditionally considered the most prestigious high school, and many of my peers were forced by their parents to go into that high school basically for the prestige.

About languages: we had French, Latin, Ancient Greek, Dutch and English.

After high school, I did an additional (seventh) year in mathematics and sciences. Then I got a degree in chemical engineering. Some years later I got a degree in actuarial sciences, and I have been working as an actuary for 12 years now.

My final point here is that when you are in general high school such as classical you can still pursue whatever studies you want afterwards (at least in Belgium).
« Last Edit: May 12, 2019, 03:05:18 AM by Polaria »

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2019, 08:01:27 AM »
Same here in Italy, Polaria.  I just met a couple who are both economists -he went to classical high school and she went to languages high school and they had no problems studying economics at university.

Imma - I'm not sure if it's racism or classism but so many Italians have told me that classical high school is the best place for the smart kids to go (scientific high school is the alternative).  I guess if all the "brainy" kids go there then everyone wants to send their kids there even if it's an outdated curriculum.  It's kind of different here from places like Belgium and the Netherlands though as the level of English instruction is extremely low here (English teachers tend not to be able to speak the language at all -my older daughter, particularly, has to constantly hold her tongue in English class as the teacher makes constant egregious mistakes like mixing up the colors purple and green or misspelling basic words) so they spend a ton of time on these dead languages but never learn any living languages.  But I guess this is the fun of being an immigrant with children.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2019, 01:20:32 PM »
It's not just schools in Europe.  I live in the US in Texas, and our kids now have to decide at 14 what "endorsement" they want for high school.  There are STEM endorsements (requiring Algebra II plus 3 years of math beyond that and 4 hard sciences).  There are endorsements for arts (down to specifics for music, dance, art, or a mix), languages, law enforcement, etc.  It can be very difficult to change endorsements.

My 13-year-old wants to be a scientist and math and science come easily to her.  She will be choosing a STEM endorsement.  At age 10, however, she wanted to be a graphic designer.  Not because she loved art, but because it sounded like a very cool field.  She changed her mind when her uncle gave her a book on famous female scientists throughout history.  She was so excited to discover fields she had never imagined and, since the book centered on women, she could picture herself in their shoes.

My 11-year-old wants to be a music teacher or a doctor.  Or maybe a psychiatrist.  Or a 5th grade science teacher.  And she LOVES art. We are going to spend the next few years showing her different career options to help her narrow down what she might actually want to do.

Overall, I think we don't do a great job of helping our kids see what their options are for future careers - both those that require college and those that require technical certificates.

We've also told our oldest very candidly that we are forbidding her from playing the "GPA game" in high school.  She is to make time in her schedule for classes that she will enjoy or subjects that intrigue her, because this is her time to try all sorts of new things, even if those classes don't have as many grade points attached.  If that means she doesn't make the top 10% of her class, so be it.

Imma

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2019, 03:52:33 PM »
Would there be any way to get your kids out of English classes so they could spend that time doing useful stuff?

I know it didn't work like that for native speakers in my high school but we were also taught English literature and drama. I assume that doesn't really happen in your daughter's class if the teacher struggles to understand basic English. I only got two hours if English each week (for 8 years) and while I my English was not really that great at graduation, it was good enough to function in an English-speaking environment. Is all tv dubbed there? I would guess most kids in here would pick up enough English through tv/internet that they know basic English by the time formal lessons start at age 10.

If any of them show a special interest in languages/history then I suppose there's nothing wrong with doing Latin/Greek but I imagine it's dreadful to do years and years of boring translations if you're not interested. No matter how good some claim it might be for the development of character, that doesn't sound like it will keep them motivated for school. In that case scientific high school sounds like the most promising alternative if it also allows them a wide choice of majors in university.

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #36 on: May 28, 2019, 04:10:33 PM »
Imma - my kids are still only in elementary school but I've been told repeatedly that English is compulsory (brought in by Berlusconi no less!) so my kids can't get out of English classes.  As you may have guessed all TV and movies are dubbed here - which probably explains the low level of English.


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Re: How to avoid being a &quot;Tiger Parent&quot;
« Reply #37 on: May 28, 2019, 04:34:37 PM »
Imma - my kids are still only in elementary school but I've been told repeatedly that English is compulsory (brought in by Berlusconi no less!) so my kids can't get out of English classes.  As you may have guessed all TV and movies are dubbed here - which probably explains the low level of English.
I find teaching foreign languages to be interesting. It seems to me that in the US we are so isolated and navel-staring that we don’t value foreign languages, and therefore reduce its teaching to the bare minimum at the time when it is least likely to be effective (late teenage years). If you actually want kjds to learn another language it is pretty simple: immersion starting at a young age.

When I was an exchange student in france I saw that they teach a lot of foreign language and start at a much younger age, but somehow the curriculum isn’t all that effective. My lycée classmates struggled to hold basic conversations in English, for example, though they knew English grammar better than I did.

SwordGuy

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #38 on: May 28, 2019, 08:41:49 PM »
Let her know that whatever choice she makes, she will still be taking courses in advanced math.  She'll either take them during school hours or after school, on weekends, or during the summer.   FYI, check out The Prince of Wales School of Traditional Art which uses lots of math in their art because that's what some ancient cultures did.   


Then you'll find out how badly she wants to go to art school.   

elliha

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2019, 02:31:59 AM »
Swedish kids have this cut off at 16 and they make the choice at 15. What you can study depends on your grades and your interests but usually there are options open for most children who have at least passing grades in both programs aimed for university studies and trade programs. Some schools and programs are very competitive though and may require very high grades even if it is a trade program. Hairdressing and makeup is one example of a trade based program that often require you to have good grades because it often has many applicants but most schools don't offer very many students admission each year to be able to have smaller classes and access to equipment and placement in good work places (trade programs have training in real work places in the field and this is considered an extremely important part of the education).

You can take classic subjects such as Latin and Greek in high school here as well but this is not that popular and it is much more common to pick a program with science or social science profile. Picking the humanities program (which is the one that teaches Latin and Greek) is usually something people who are genuinely into languages do and it is well respected but not the most common choice. If you are good at math and/or science you pick science or technology, if you are good at math but more into social science and/or languages you might pick economics or social science, if you are not that good at math but doing well in school overall you tend to pick social science, if you are into arts you pick aesthetics and you study music, art or dance together with languages and social science so you can still apply to some university programs. This is basically how choices seem to go if you pick a program which is not a trade program. Arts here does give a lot of options outside of arts, my friend who studied dance became a nurse and later a teacher of nursing for one of the trade programs in high school. I took social science and became a teacher of English and history.

We do have a lot of options for adult education if you make a mistake when you choose your path at 15 so I am not that worried my kids will make the wrong one and I plan to let them pick their own path when the time comes (they are only 7 and 3 now) but if I think a choice is completely wrong for them I will of course tell them, but in the end, it is their life and this is the first real step to letting them go and let them be adults as I see it.

Class does effect choices here too but less so nowadays than say in the 70s and 80s. The difference is there but plenty of working class kids do choose programs aimed at college but few kids in middle class families choose trade programs. They tend to be tutored or work their way through a university prep program but with poor grades instead of perhaps flowering in a trade program. My husband is an example of this, he graduated with low to average grades from the science program and he did go to the university but struggled in the higher courses and ended up not being able to get a degree. He decided to take some courses within gardening and house maintenance at high school level and is now working for a housing company. It is not a dream career but he is making money, he does things he is good at and he is using more his real potential here than he would have done in an office. I do wish he would have chosen a path like this earlier because it would have saved him a lot of heart ache and feelings of not being able and smart. He is smart but is more the type of smart that requires a combination of thinking and using his hands rather than writing essays. He is more practical and hands on than the typical engineer but more of an intellectual than the typical carpenter/handy man. It is not an easy combination but you all get that he is fully able to be a productive member of society and he shouldn't have had to felt the way he did about himself for many years. I really don't want my kids to feel this way and this is why I feel that I rather let them pick a trade, work in that field and see that this is wrong than say "Oh, you are so smart, go to the university and make me proud" which is kind of what my husband's parents did and then further made him feel bad when he wasn't as successful once he got there.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2019, 06:40:44 AM by elliha »

Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2019, 05:40:26 AM »
If you are good at math and/or science you pick science or technology, if you are good at math but more into social science and/or languages you might pick economics or social science, if you are not that good at math but doing well in school overall you tend to pick social science, if you are into arts you pick aesthetics and you study music, art or dance together with languages and social science so you can still apply to some university programs. This is basically how choices seem to go if you pick a program which is not a trade program.

So it sounds like the pressure to make career/educational decisions very early is a Europe-wide thing, not just Italy.  I find the whole thing insane as I can't imagine how most 14 year olds could know that they were more into science and math or more into humanities or more into being a mechanic or a hairdresser.  At that age I liked all my subjects in high school.  I had great teachers in both biology and history so those were my favorite subjects.  But it would have been really hard to choose and I probably would have chosen a 'stream' based on parental pressure or peer pressure. 

elliha

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #41 on: June 05, 2019, 06:38:22 AM »
If you are good at math and/or science you pick science or technology, if you are good at math but more into social science and/or languages you might pick economics or social science, if you are not that good at math but doing well in school overall you tend to pick social science, if you are into arts you pick aesthetics and you study music, art or dance together with languages and social science so you can still apply to some university programs. This is basically how choices seem to go if you pick a program which is not a trade program.

So it sounds like the pressure to make career/educational decisions very early is a Europe-wide thing, not just Italy.  I find the whole thing insane as I can't imagine how most 14 year olds could know that they were more into science and math or more into humanities or more into being a mechanic or a hairdresser.  At that age I liked all my subjects in high school.  I had great teachers in both biology and history so those were my favorite subjects.  But it would have been really hard to choose and I probably would have chosen a 'stream' based on parental pressure or peer pressure.

If you were Swedish you would then most likely have picked science since you study history and biology in that program and you would be able to study both subjects at the university. Also, if you pick a trade you are going to have studied most of the same subjects as those that picked programs aimed at the university so you can easily pick up the courses you need through adult education (which is free) after high school if you change your mind. Many courses can be taken online so you can even study and work at the same time. Our system is very flexible, other countries may be less so.

If we twist things around, why should someone who does know he/she wants to be a plumber need to spend years in high school studying things they don't need instead of being able to start working right away when they graduate? Why not use this time for a combination of learning important work skills together with more general subjects and have a good base of general knowledge and special skills within a field of work? I do think that if you know you are expected to start thinking about these things at this age you will do just that and be reasonably able to make a decision. If you are unsure but know you are thinking of going to the university you have plenty of good options. If you are considering a trade you can "afford" to take the chance of specializing early since there are back up systems within adult education.


Hula Hoop

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2019, 07:31:44 AM »
If you are good at math and/or science you pick science or technology, if you are good at math but more into social science and/or languages you might pick economics or social science, if you are not that good at math but doing well in school overall you tend to pick social science, if you are into arts you pick aesthetics and you study music, art or dance together with languages and social science so you can still apply to some university programs. This is basically how choices seem to go if you pick a program which is not a trade program.

So it sounds like the pressure to make career/educational decisions very early is a Europe-wide thing, not just Italy.  I find the whole thing insane as I can't imagine how most 14 year olds could know that they were more into science and math or more into humanities or more into being a mechanic or a hairdresser.  At that age I liked all my subjects in high school.  I had great teachers in both biology and history so those were my favorite subjects.  But it would have been really hard to choose and I probably would have chosen a 'stream' based on parental pressure or peer pressure.

If you were Swedish you would then most likely have picked science since you study history and biology in that program and you would be able to study both subjects at the university. Also, if you pick a trade you are going to have studied most of the same subjects as those that picked programs aimed at the university so you can easily pick up the courses you need through adult education (which is free) after high school if you change your mind. Many courses can be taken online so you can even study and work at the same time. Our system is very flexible, other countries may be less so.

If we twist things around, why should someone who does know he/she wants to be a plumber need to spend years in high school studying things they don't need instead of being able to start working right away when they graduate? Why not use this time for a combination of learning important work skills together with more general subjects and have a good base of general knowledge and special skills within a field of work? I do think that if you know you are expected to start thinking about these things at this age you will do just that and be reasonably able to make a decision. If you are unsure but know you are thinking of going to the university you have plenty of good options. If you are considering a trade you can "afford" to take the chance of specializing early since there are back up systems within adult education.

IMO general education is very important.  A plumber should have had the opportunity to acquire knowledge of literature, math, science, history etc. at least until late high school.  Someone who goes on to study engineering should know how to write good Swedish (or English or whatever) and someone who majors in history should be forced to do some math and science subjects in late high school and university.  It makes a person well rounded and well educated whatever their later career might be.  And, of course, at such a young age, a child often makes the choice that his/her parents or peers want so if they have a well rounded education they can at least go back and do what they want later in life.

No idea how it works in Sweden but here in Italy once you're out in the work force paying bills and supporting a family it would be very difficult, if not impossible, go back to university.  Certain things are only possible when you're young and don't have any financial obligations (obviously, if you had a wealthy family this would be different).

Imma

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2019, 12:38:06 PM »
In NL it's also pretty hard to switch once you have chosen a school/track, especially the first and most important choice at the age of 12 (!!): Theoretical or vocational school. This decision is based mostly on IQ. This means that a kid intelligent enough to potentially get a degree will never be able to pick practical classes and kids who will likely learn a trade have limited options in theoretical classes - some subjects like Dutch and English are mandatory but the level is fairly low. This also perpetuates the myth that everyone in a vocational field is unintelligent. For a minority of kids it's very clear whether they should go to a theoretical or a vocational school, but for a lot of kids it's not that clear. These kids usually end up in the school their parents went to. I would have loved to take classes in woodworking,  and I'm sure there are kids in vocational schools who would love to try Spanish or philosophy.

I think most European countries have a similar school system with early choices: it has evolved from a system of elite schools for the rich and the clergy, vocational schools for middle class kids (and usually no high school at all for the working class). When my parents went to highschool in the 60s they were the first generation of smart working class kids in vocational schools.

gaja

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2019, 08:29:54 AM »
If you are good at math and/or science you pick science or technology, if you are good at math but more into social science and/or languages you might pick economics or social science, if you are not that good at math but doing well in school overall you tend to pick social science, if you are into arts you pick aesthetics and you study music, art or dance together with languages and social science so you can still apply to some university programs. This is basically how choices seem to go if you pick a program which is not a trade program.

So it sounds like the pressure to make career/educational decisions very early is a Europe-wide thing, not just Italy.  I find the whole thing insane as I can't imagine how most 14 year olds could know that they were more into science and math or more into humanities or more into being a mechanic or a hairdresser.  At that age I liked all my subjects in high school.  I had great teachers in both biology and history so those were my favorite subjects.  But it would have been really hard to choose and I probably would have chosen a 'stream' based on parental pressure or peer pressure.

If you were Swedish you would then most likely have picked science since you study history and biology in that program and you would be able to study both subjects at the university. Also, if you pick a trade you are going to have studied most of the same subjects as those that picked programs aimed at the university so you can easily pick up the courses you need through adult education (which is free) after high school if you change your mind. Many courses can be taken online so you can even study and work at the same time. Our system is very flexible, other countries may be less so.

If we twist things around, why should someone who does know he/she wants to be a plumber need to spend years in high school studying things they don't need instead of being able to start working right away when they graduate? Why not use this time for a combination of learning important work skills together with more general subjects and have a good base of general knowledge and special skills within a field of work? I do think that if you know you are expected to start thinking about these things at this age you will do just that and be reasonably able to make a decision. If you are unsure but know you are thinking of going to the university you have plenty of good options. If you are considering a trade you can "afford" to take the chance of specializing early since there are back up systems within adult education.

IMO general education is very important.  A plumber should have had the opportunity to acquire knowledge of literature, math, science, history etc. at least until late high school.  Someone who goes on to study engineering should know how to write good Swedish (or English or whatever) and someone who majors in history should be forced to do some math and science subjects in late high school and university.  It makes a person well rounded and well educated whatever their later career might be.  And, of course, at such a young age, a child often makes the choice that his/her parents or peers want so if they have a well rounded education they can at least go back and do what they want later in life.

No idea how it works in Sweden but here in Italy once you're out in the work force paying bills and supporting a family it would be very difficult, if not impossible, go back to university.  Certain things are only possible when you're young and don't have any financial obligations (obviously, if you had a wealthy family this would be different).

I have been a teacher in the Norwegian school system, and based on my experience I wish students were able to choose vocational training earlier than 15. I completely agree that general knowledge is important, but if a kid has a mainly practical talent, why should he or she struggle through years of feeling like a loser, when they could be mastering a trade? Our vocational schools do have a science, history and language curriculum, to ensure that everyone in the society has a basic knowledge level. But the details are at a completely different level than for the teoretically oriented kids.

Since all education is free in Norway, getting more education as an adult is doable. The unions also have education programs and stipends for their members. Sure, if you have low paying job and big family, it is more difficult. But it is not impossible, especially if you study part time and/or night school.

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Art School is IT Training
« Reply #45 on: June 22, 2019, 08:15:28 AM »
My oldest daughter just spent 11th grade in vocational school for graphic design.

Now that she's learned so many new computer programs, we are looking into coding boot camps. She also took a course this past spring at FIT in New York City. It was full days on Sat and Sun doing nothing but sketching.

Consider art school.

If she thinks it's easier, she will learn it's not. However, maybe it's what she wants to do.

Also, art is a skill you can learn. You can be bad and then get good.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2019, 06:16:38 PM by A Fella from Stella »

Muchine

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #46 on: June 25, 2019, 06:33:25 AM »
Hi all,

Another European perspective here :) While I'm not there yet in helping my kids make these decisions (they are almost 4 and 1), I already know I will be one of those conflicted parents as well. On the one hand, it's their life and their choice, but 12 seems so young to make a choice that will affect the rest of their lives.

I too did the "classic" languages thing and although the general level of the other courses was higher in this stream than in the more vocational streams, I would never recommend it to my children and would prefer if they choose a STEM direction, since I believe this offers most opportunities towards an interesting and fulfilling career (personal opinion here...).

I have a slightly different perspective on what makes a well rounded adult than described above. Next to the more "intellectual" subject (history, languages,..), I feel we should offer our kids subjects that will prepare them for future life: basic personal finance classes, basic cooking, basic electricity/ carpentry/landscaping,... I graduated from high school with active (speaking) knowledge of 4 living languages and 1 classic language but I had never seem a tax form up close let alone that I knew anything about basic electricity in my own house. These are practical skills that any young adult should know before striking out on their own.

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #47 on: June 25, 2019, 07:11:58 AM »
Interesting perspective, Muchine.  The problem is that the 'scientific high school' here in Italy is really tough and if you don't love math and science it would be extremely hard.  I can't imagine forcing a kid to do something so demanding - hence the title of this thread "how to avoid being a Tiger parent".

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #48 on: June 25, 2019, 08:32:00 AM »
Hula, you are doing a great job because you really care about this. "Not doing math" may mean not doing math classes, but art school is mathematical. Also, art school is more demanding, but if she actually likes it can be lucrative.

As I noted above, my oldest never thought of doing coding, but now that she has learned multiple graphic design software programs said "yes, I'll try coding boot camp." When I told her she might get hired right out of it if she does a kickass job, she rubbed her hands together like an evil little cartoon that was thinking MONEY.

Please keep us updated. Wishing you the best.

Muchine

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Re: How to avoid being a "Tiger Parent"
« Reply #49 on: Today at 08:31:52 AM »
Interesting perspective, Muchine.  The problem is that the 'scientific high school' here in Italy is really tough and if you don't love math and science it would be extremely hard.  I can't imagine forcing a kid to do something so demanding - hence the title of this thread "how to avoid being a Tiger parent".

Excellent point. We don't even have real scientific high school here in Belgium, but the more math/ science oriented streams are indeed hard (especially if that is not where your interests lay :)). Note to self - must not become a tiger mom :)

Note - I would never force my kids to do something that I know they cannot do and will definitely support them to pursue their interests but if they have talent for the more "difficult" subjects, I would push them to pursue this and pursue the "lighter" subjects (e.g. history, addional languages on top of the "basics") as passion projects later in life. Again - must not be a tiger mom :) :)