Parents feeling the pressure as students get ready to start school

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 August, 2014, 4:56am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 August, 2014, 4:56am

So-called helicopter parents are known to put pressure on students, but a new study shows that pressure is mounting on parents, too, ahead of Monday's start of the school year.

The survey is the first to be conducted by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups on the stress felt by parents, in contrast to its annual study on how the start of the school year puts pressure on students.

The shift in the focus from students to parents of middle and primary school pupils was mainly a response to the rising trend of helicopter parents, who pay excessively close attention to their children, said the federation.

Its study shows that 30 per cent of parents are experiencing severe pressure as the summer holiday comes to an end and their children prepare to go back to school.

Half of them also expressed worries that the curriculum may be too difficult for their children to follow.

"Students start memorising the multiplication table before primary school," said Hsu Siu-man, a social worker and supervisor at the federation.

To keep up, almost 80 per cent of the respondents said they had arranged classes or homework for their children in preparation for the new school year.

Another 27 per cent of the parents reported family conflicts over their children's academic abilities.

The relationship between parents and children is "always better during the summer break than during school," said Fong, whose 15-year-old daughter suffers from dyslexia, which affects her learning ability.

According to Fong, nagging from parents is inevitable due to their concerns over their children's academic performance, but this may annoy the children.

Many parents worry that their children may have learning problems, such as dyslexia, language impairment or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and make them visit psychiatrists.

But often, the psychiatrists diagnose the parents, not the children, with problems - namely anxiety.

However, not all parents have negative feelings about their children going back to school. Thirty-four per cent of respondents said they looked forward to September because their children could return to a productive routine.