The general notion of parenting in modern times tends to involve investing in educational toys, gadgets and equipment targeted at turning children into prodigies. If a balance is not achieved however, children are robbed of their childhood, placed under immense pressure and may end up rebelling against acquiring the very skills their parents have invested so much on.
Hothousing can be defined as the process of inducing infants to learn concepts associated with a higher developmental level. For example, trying to teach a 2-year-old arithmetic. The underlying philosophy behind hothousing is that children can learn anything thanks to their unbridled curiosity, as long as the environment is conditioned appropriately.
Some young children are being hothoused and pressured to acquire knowledge prematurely in a bid to fast track their education. Hothousing is done to ensure that children acquire skills and knowledge earlier than is typical of their developmental stage to give them a head start.
There are various reasons why some parents put pressure on their children to acquire knowledge and skills from a young age. These reasons include: 1) Being uncertain and anxious about the competitive future that awaits a child, 2) The parent’s ambition for their child’s achievement of set goals, 3) A mentality of not acknowledging that children are children and 4) An excessive interest in intelligence of children.
Parents who are at the frontline of encouraging hothousing pay very little attention to research and theory. The skills and concepts used in elementary and primary education are usually underlined by complex developmental processes, which young children have not gone through.
One major impact of hothousing is that it can lead to a situation where children participate in rote learning without actually understanding what they have been taught. Young children, for example, may be able to identify objects, but may have difficulty understanding the relationship among the objects – a knowledge that can only come with time and development.
While hothousing is often argued to rob children of their independence, it’s still important to give children a sense of worth by paying close attention to their progress, praising and rewarding their accomplishments.
The general advice around hothousing kids is centered on balancing their structured activities with free play. Not every activity in a child’s life has to be tied to learning something above what they can comprehend.
Picture Attribution: "Family With One Child" by Ambro/Freedigitalphotos.net