I came across this beautiful question on Quora and couldn’t stop myself from writing a reply to the parent who sought this advice.
Early bird! There are a ton of coaching institutes for your kid. The below article talks about two of the good ones:
- TIME institute: It has integrated training sessions with a few schools from classes V to VII. They work within the school curriculum, and also provide mock tests once a month.
- Winners academy: They offer coaching from class IX, but schools have been requesting them to provide coaching classes starting from class V. They may be worth checking too-maybe they already started.
Times of India, 29 Jan 2018
You can send your kid to one of these. However, just because you started early does not mean that your kid will clear IIT entrance exam, though it guarantees a few things:
1. You think your kid doesn’t has a mind of his own and making decisions for him is your right.
Deciding what your kid becomes in life seems to be your kick in life. It gives you an element of control over someone else’s life. You look like a person who has little control over his own life and controlling the little kid’s life provides you with an authority status that you don’t get anywhere else.
Alas! The kid has no choice! Because right now, he is dependent on you.
Though keep in mind that he will grow up someday. And that day, he will know good from bad. He’ll have choices and this is what he’ll choose.
As a grown up, he will visit a psychiatrist to undo his wrong upbringing. He’ll tell him how you set long-term goals for him while he didn’t know any better. He could never get a chance to explore his interests because you pushed your interests on him. Now he wants to pursue some other career path, but doesn’t know what.
You’ll have a kid who is totally lost in his life. He wouldn’t know what to do with his life, because
- You never asked him his choice as you treated him like a kid, not a person with thinking prowess
- You weren’t patient with his upbringing as you wanted him to be ahead in game
- You never gave him a chance to decide for himself because you decided the best for him
2. You want an early achiever for a kid.
IIT! In first attempt!
An IITian son! My pride!
Not sure if your son will eventually make it to IIT, but he will grow up believing that his life is worthwhile only when he makes it to IIT. His sole emphasis in life will be on marks, ranks. He will come to associate his self-worth with these external measures of success and will feel unworthy when he gets lesser than others.
He will compare himself with others to determine his own self-worth. He’ll always be looking over his shoulder to see what others are doing. Rather than finding and refining his own interests, he’ll get influenced by his peers, social circle.
You’ll have a kid who suffers from low self-worth, because
- You made him believe that he will be worthy in life only when he attains an external reward i.e. IIT merit
- You inculcated the belief in him that it is important to be best at whatever he does, and acquire a reward to prove his worth
- You developed him into a being who is obsessed with achievement. He will grow up feeling that whatever he does, he must not fail at anything
3. You want a safe and secure life for your kid because “What else if not IIT?” makes you very very uncomfortable.
You want a life focused on accumulating degrees, awards and a lot of ‘stuff’ which makes your kid’s life safe and secure. This is a safe path not just for him, but for you too as it waives off your responsibility to assist him later in anything different he decides to try. You can conveniently say that you provided him all means to become an IITian since an early age, and now it’s his fault that he didn’t bank upon those privileges.
In the absence of any internal signs of security, you’ll have a kid so insecure that he will keep looking for security in external stuff throughout his life. Even if he eventually goes to IIT, he wouldn’t know inner security, or a belief in himself.
He will break down often in the face of life’s challenges and wouldn’t know how to tackle a simple circumstance, because
- You never prepared him for a life of challenges, you only prepared him for a safe and secure one
- You kept him away from unknown, and allowed him to go after the tried and tested career path of engineering
- You didn’t encourage him to go find his own interests, and rather forced your lack of knowledge of knowing no other career path than medical and engineering on him
4. You think it is okay to push him to strive to be better at his game, even though he is only 10.
Maybe you have a little idea of all the ill effects that your decision will have. Maybe your subconscious already told you everything you read so far. Maybe you know that it’ll take a psychological toll on you and your kid. Yet you think the psychological toll is worth the price.
Your child won’t be able to relax without feeling guilty.
He will learn to think in stressful ways.
Your child will stop showing age-appropriate behaviors. You would want him to laugh often, act silly, be wild at times, but anxiety will take a toll on him. He won’t be able to act like a child anymore, and will have a serious aura owing to the pressures he faces. You’ll have a kid who may suffer from stammering, sleeping ailments, fatigue, bed-wetting, menstrual problems. All this because
- You refuse to accept that he is a complete human being. To you, he is just a kid, who can’t decide for himself. You also don’t want to wait till he can decide
- Age-appropriate behaviors never mattered to you. You wanted him to be serious about his career at an innocent age of 10
- You put unrealistic demands on him as you want him to hurry through life
5. Or maybe you have no idea how detrimental your decision can be.
With low self-esteem, low self-worth and a feeling of inadequacy, life will feel so heavy to him that he’ll eventually collapse. He may even commit suicide before he reaches his teen years.
You’ll be that unfortunate parent who will have to see his kid commiting suicide because you failed at doing your job of parenting right. All this because
- You didn’t encourage him to think for himself- you wanted to think for him
- You didn’t let him become all that he was capable of- maybe he had dreams grander than an engineering degree
- You didn’t teach him life skills, you only wanted him master bookish knowledge
This is what you’ll deserve. Like this dad. One or many of these things will happen, and you and your kid will both pay the price for your wrongdoings.
If this scares the living daylights out of you, then there is one more coaching institute you may consider sending your kid to. It is called the institute of life skills. It won’t prepare your kid for entrance exams but it’ll prepare your kid for life.
This institute doesn’t teach fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and calculus, but it teaches freedom from external controls, sensibility towards failing and self-esteem. There won’t be any mock examinations there but there will be real life tests. And everyday situations will be a rehearsal to demonstrate life skills. Your kid won’t have to wait for a time to sit in the entrance exam to show what he has learned, but he can use his learnings all the time.
This institute is your home. And the teacher there is you.