Learn to ‘walk away’ from your children, parents told

Pushy parents must learn to “walk away” to allow their children to develop properly at a young age, according to a leading headmaster. Mothers and fathers should “see the wisdom of letting go” to ensure children can learn from their own mistakes as they grow up, it is claimed. This is from the Telegraph…

Christian Heinrich, chairman of the Boarding Schools Association, says that the existing image of the “helicopter parent” who hovers over their children throughout primary and secondary education should be banished.

In a speech today, he will call for the rise of a generation of parents inspired by the Cecil Day Lewis poem “Walking Away”, based on his recollection of son Sean’s first day at school.

He says a shift in attitudes is needed because rising numbers of parents are required to work long hours during the economic downturn to make ends meet.

Addressing headmasters at a conference in Oxford, he claims that boarding school education is a “relatively cheap option” for young children compared with paying for a live-in nanny.

Most boarding schools have adapted to meet the needs of modern families – with a renewed focus on children’s pastoral care and flexible boarding arrangements – and parents should not fear their sons and daughters being forced to lead a “monastic existence”, he says.

The comments come just days after Carrie Paechter, professor of education at Goldsmiths, University of London, warned that some young girls were developing eating disorders after being treated as “projects” by pushy parents.

Mr Heinrich, headmaster of Cumnor House Preparatory School, Sussex, will say: “My time in teaching has coincided with the rise and recognition of so-called pushy parents, of parents keeping their children wrapped in cotton wool and of the wonderful image of helicopter parents.

“What I now hope for is the rise of the C. Day Lewis generation. The poet laureate… wrote a poem ‘Walking Away’ about his son’s first day at school that should touch the soul of all parents and teachers of young boarders.

“He set out the territory for those parents who see the wisdom of ‘letting go’ at the point when the child is ready.”

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