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Book of Math Problems

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As a social worker, how do you consider the parenting?

Option 1: No. It's good parenting. Excellence is promoted.
2
6%
Option 2: Officially I find that it's hasn't crossed into the line of child abuse, but it is extremely poor and damaging parenting.
15
45%
Option 3: Officially, I find that it has crossed into the line of child abuse, and it is extremely poor and damaging parenting.
15
45%
Option 4: Other (please explain)
1
3%
 
Total votes : 33

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Infected Mushroom
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Book of Math Problems

Postby Infected Mushroom » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:15 pm

Please consider the following hypothetical:

You are a social worker and you somehow become aware of the following situation:




A young child (let's say 12), is well-provided for economically and there is no family violence.

The father is a mathematical genius and he has high expectations for the child. He has heard from his colleague that they have given their kid a book of math problems to do at home in order to bolster their mathematical aptitude... so he decides to do the same. He brings home a giant (over 300 pages long) photocopied and binded-together book of math problems. He says to the child, "I expect you to do 10 pages every day and to get the answers right. If you have any questions about how to do some of the problems, figure it out, if you can't, come to me."

The child tries to do the problems. They are pre-SAT questions but they struggle massively; they don't have their father's mathematical genius or skill. They are also just... well... bored by the material. They want to spend their free time after school playing video games, drawing, enjoying movies and writing instead and they see this book as really just something they want to get over with. They try to approach their father a few times for help. The father questions the child's mathematical ability and intelligence and quite a few times, the child gets yelled at for not trying. Explanations are given but they don't stick.

Meanwhile, the kid found the answers to the questions in the middle of the booklet. They decide "you know what, I don't want to be belittled or shouted at and I hate doing this anyways" so they cheat and start writing out incorrect steps in the math problems miraculously leading to the answers; they get good at it so that at a glance (without close scrutiny), it looks related to the problem and it looks like they've applied themselves. The father wants to hear that they have done the 10 pages but he won't take the time to baby-sit you through the process and answers unless the kid annoys him with it. After a few days of cheating, the child realises the father is too distracted to care. He was never going to spend a few hours every day going over the answers in the math book anyways, he had more important things to do. This giant math book charade goes on for about 2 years (when one book is finished, a new one is assigned), then it's miraculously forgotten.

However, there are other issues. The father expects the child to get 90 percent or higher on all school subjects. If the child gets anything lower, they are told off very seriously that they need to apply themselves; if they get a number of less than 90s... even if it's in the 80s... they can expect this to escalate to yelling and the removal of household privileges. For school work, the child can go to the father for help but if they do, it's 50-50. They may get the impatient, angry, condescending mode or they might actually get some real help, the child NEVER knows which it will be.

There is not household violence.




In your capacity as a social worker, what's your official and off-the-record ruling on the situation? Is there any child abuse? Let's say for the sake of the thread, that you decide (based on your own values) what the definition of child abuse is. Please provide a justification and a rationale.

Your options:

Option 1: No. It's good parenting. Excellence is promoted.
Option 2: Officially I find that it's hasn't crossed into the line of child abuse, but it is extremely poor and damaging parenting.
Option 3: Officially, I find that it has crossed into the line of child abuse, and it is extremely poor and damaging parenting.
Option 4: Other (please explain)


I am very tempted to go with Option 3 but I will reluctantly settle for Option 2. The damage and effect on the child's self-esteem and self-worth is immeasurable; as is the use of fear and terror tactics. My main issue is that in most states if it is labelled "child abuse" then usually this necessitates state intervention but on a moral and philosophical level; it's not far off.
Last edited by Infected Mushroom on Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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New Jacobland
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Postby New Jacobland » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:23 pm

I'm option 2.

It isn't child abuse per se, but it is extremely damaging to their self-esteem and confidence. It is terrible parenting in my opinion to set such high expectations baselessly, but then not even try to help the child to achieve those goals is even worse.
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Postby Spiritual Republic of Caryton » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:30 pm

I'd say option 1 only under the guise that the parent actually sat down with the kid and offered help in a non-abusive manner. When the SATs/ACTs/Accuplacers come back, that child is going to be thanking their parent reverently. As a lazy kid myself with absolutely no 'homework ethic', I honestly could have used that discipline and think that all children should be doing something like this.

However, the situation at hand outweighs what I think a 12 year old should be doing after school. This is a serious case of mental damage. I understand pursuing excellence, but I can't excuse the situation in its plainest form. Option 3 all the way.
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Frontier Isles
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Postby Frontier Isles » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:39 pm

Infected Mushroom wrote:Please consider the following hypothetical:

You are a social worker and you somehow become aware of the following situation:




A young child (let's say 12), is well-provided for economically and there is no family violence.

The father is a mathematical genius and he has high expectations for the child. He has heard from his colleague that they have given their kid a book of math problems to do at home in order to bolster their mathematical aptitude... so he decides to do the same. He brings home a giant (over 300 pages long) photocopied and binded-together book of math problems. He says to the child, "I expect you to do 10 pages every day and to get the answers right. If you have any questions about how to do some of the problems, figure it out, if you can't, come to me."

This seems...alright. It trains the student to learn things on their own, which is a good skill to have, especially in college, where professors only explain certain things and expect students to learn the rest.
Infected Mushroom wrote:The child tries to do the problems. They are pre-SAT questions but they struggle massively; they don't have their father's mathematical genius or skill. They are also just... well... bored by the material. They want to spend their free time after school playing video games, drawing, enjoying movies and writing instead and they see this book as really just something they want to get over with. They try to approach their father a few times for help. The father questions the child's mathematical ability and intelligence and quite a few times, the child gets yelled at for not trying. Explanations are given but they don't stick.

This is where it starts to get bad. Rather than yelling at the child, the father really should've explained the material. The child, however, is at fault as well. The child should work first, then play. However, I do expect the father to explain the importance of learning. Both the father and his child have faults, but I think the blame goes to the father more.
Infected Mushroom wrote:Meanwhile, the kid found the answers to the questions in the middle of the booklet. They decide "you know what, I don't want to be belittled or shouted at and I hate doing this anyways" so they cheat and start writing out incorrect steps in the math problems miraculously leading to the answers; they get good at it so that at a glance (without close scrutiny), it looks related to the problem and it looks like they've applied themselves. The father wants to hear that they have done the 10 pages but he won't take the time to baby-sit you through the process and answers unless the kid annoys him with it. After a few days of cheating, the child realises the father is too distracted to care. He was never going to spend a few hours every day going over the answers in the math book anyways, he had more important things to do. This giant math book charade goes on for about 2 years (when one book is finished, a new one is assigned), then it's miraculously forgotten.

Cheating is never the way to go. What will the kid do on exam day? There will be no way for the child to cheat on exam day. However, the father really shouldn't expect the kid to do 10 pages everyday; that is just an arbitrary number. The father should, instead, measure the child's success on how well the child learns the material. I would still place more blame on the father. The kid's only 12; the father has a responsibility to ensure that his kid's actually learning stuff.
Infected Mushroom wrote:However, there are other issues. The father expects the child to get 90 percent or higher on all school subjects. If the child gets anything lower, they are told off very seriously that they need to apply themselves; if they get a number of less than 90s... even if it's in the 80s... they can expect this to escalate to yelling and the removal of household privileges. For school work, the child can go to the father for help but if they do, it's 50-50. They may get the impatient, angry, condescending mode or they might actually get some real help, the child NEVER knows which it will be.

While I think that it's not bad to have high expectations, the father shouldn't yell at his kid for getting a score lower than a 90. Instead, the father should help his kid analyze where, why, and how the kid didn't achieve the 90+ target so that the child will be able to improve next time.

Infected Mushroom wrote:There is no household violence.




In your capacity as a social worker, what's your official and off-the-record ruling on the situation? Is there any child abuse? Let's say for the sake of the thread, that you decide (based on your own values) what the definition of child abuse is. Please provide a justification and a rationale.

Your options:

Option 1: No. It's good parenting. Excellence is promoted.
Option 2: Officially I find that it's hasn't crossed into the line of child abuse, but it is extremely poor and damaging parenting.
Option 3: Officially, I find that it has crossed into the line of child abuse, and it is extremely poor and damaging parenting.
Option 4: Other (please explain)


I am very tempted to go with Option 3 but I will reluctantly settle for Option 2. The damage and effect on the child's self-esteem and self-worth is immeasurable; as is the use of fear and terror tactics. My main issue is that in most states if it is labelled "child abuse" then usually this necessitates state intervention but on a moral and philosophical level; it's not far off.

I'll go with option 2.

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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:13 pm

It’s emotionally abusive. Foisting unreasonable expectations on a child, refusing to adequately help them when they try to fulfill them, and then being verbally abusive when they fail? High expectations are one thing; this is veering into something else. Young children should not be belittled and screamed at by their parents, even if they’re doing something genuinely wrong (which in this case I don’t think the kid is).

It doesn’t merit removing the child from the home, but the most likely way a social worker would become aware would be by me or a teacher noticing the kid acting out at school and asking them about what was going on (I can’t really imagine this sort of thing being made as some secret or urgent disclosure to the authorities)— so I imagine the proper course of action would be to have the child’s main school teacher and myself meet with and speak to the father about this behavior. Not necessarily saying he’s wrong for wanting his child to be high-achieving, but this sort of method of trying to achieve that is going to give the kid an anxiety disorder that will in fact impede their ability to hit the marks the father wants them to hit. Hopefully, if he’s a loving guy, he just won’t have realized how this was affecting the kid and will feel bad and change his behavior. If it stops, great; if it continues then given what you’ve said about the father’s temperament I expect he’d retaliate against the child and things would get worse, at which point it might be time to start entertaining a more invasive intervention.

Do not abuse your kids or pretend abuse is “just really loving them/wanting the best for them,” and don’t let other people rationalize that shit. Just because there’s no physical violence (yet— these things have a way of spiraling) doesn’t mean it isn’t abuse.
Last edited by Senkaku on Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Drew Durrnil
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Postby Drew Durrnil » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:16 pm

option two (strict, but not abusive)
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Senkaku
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Postby Senkaku » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:19 pm

Again: belittling and shouting at your kid is abuse! Raising your voice a bit is one thing; screaming at them and telling them they’re stupid and lazy is entirely different.
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Postby Zurkir » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:11 pm

Option 2.
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Postby Disgraces » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:18 pm

Homework already is child abuse

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Postby The Free Joy State » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:28 pm

The father sounds like a narcissistic parent.

He is attempting to live through his child (by insisting his child be a maths genius when that isn't the child's interest), is inflexible (insisting the child do the pages every day), unempathetic and manipulating (yelling at the child, questioning the child's intelligence, being angry and condescending) and neglectful (making it clear that, although he expects the child to be something he can live through and therefore be "proud of", he has no interest in helping him).

Such a parenting style is destabilising for the rest of their life -- resulting in them feeling unheard and having their feelings unacknowledged, valued only for what they do (for the parent) than for their own attributes. This may lead to depression, anxiety or PTSD in adulthood.

I am torn between number two and three. This family is extremely unhealthy and sounds like (with the questioning the boy's intelligence) it has crossed over into emotional abuse (so that is what I chose). Either way, this family needs monitoring and the father needs some parenting classes, post-haste.
Last edited by The Free Joy State on Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Kilobugya » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:35 pm

New Jacobland wrote:I'm option 2.

It isn't child abuse per se, but it is extremely damaging to their self-esteem and confidence. It is terrible parenting in my opinion to set such high expectations baselessly, but then not even try to help the child to achieve those goals is even worse.


Exactly my opinion.
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Postby Kilobugya » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:37 pm

Senkaku wrote:Again: belittling and shouting at your kid is abuse! Raising your voice a bit is one thing; screaming at them and telling them they’re stupid and lazy is entirely different.


Well, I agree with you it's very harmful behavior. But I don't think it's against the law, and a social worker has to operate within the bounds of the law, they can't just listen to what they feel is right or wrong, in my understanding.
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Postby Kilobugya » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:40 pm

Frontier Isles wrote:The child should work first, then play.


Play is a fundamental part of the development of a child. It's necessary for their psychological well-being, it develops creativity and creative problem-solving. Every child should be given time for them to play. It shouldn't "work first, then play" but a balance between learning and playing. And if you can do both at once, all the better, which might be the father's first failure, handing over to the child dry math problems instead of making them part of a game.
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Postby Shanghai industrial complex » Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:06 am

I suggest the father go to the hospital for a paternity test
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Postby -SARS- » Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:35 am

I would advise the father to lighten up, but I don't think it rises to the level where it requires more serious intervention.

I would also give them both pneumonia, but that's just me being a virus.
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Postby The Two Jerseys » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:44 am

Ignore it.

It's better than sending the kid to Basic Psych for some shitty therapy.
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Postby Sky Reavers » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:56 am

If ya' ask me, it's between 2 and 3. Sure, some folks gonna say about work ethics and such, but all work no play made a kid a dull boy. All this belittling and yelling in fact does opposte to cultivation of work ethics. To this lil' dude, there is a strong association "Studying/working - being belittled and yelled at" and when papa ain't controllin', lil' dude gonna indulge in free time like there is no tomorrow and go lazy. Sure, he is gonna have good grades, but afterwards, he just forgets all the school knowledge altogether, like he needs it no more.

I mea, lil' dude gonna be fed with math problems and studying for life. And this resentment of studying will in fact hamper his career. It's gonna sit deep in subconsciousness and then become hard to recognize without a specialist. Or alternatively, he goes all neurotic perfectionist and stress from the imperfect world just wrecks his sanity and physical health. Slowly and painfully.
Last edited by Sky Reavers on Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Valentine Z
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Postby Valentine Z » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:04 am

I will let the little kid watch 3Blue1Brown, Numberphile, or more of those entertaining and educational videos, at his own pace.

As for the topic in question, I would feel that it's an emotional abuse and yes, that is how you make the kid grow resentment for what I personally think is the most misunderstood and mis-attributed subjects. Mathematics can be fun, but from my personal experience with schools and whatnot, it should not be about memorisation, drilling, and practicing all the time.

Let the kid do it at their own pace, and make him enjoy the beauty of mathematics. Also let him explore other methods of getting solutions. There is no point knowing a ton of Trigonometry when you don't know about its real-life applications, or enjoy the elegance of it. If they are not mathematically-inclined (nothing wrong with that), let them explore other ventures! Hey, they can be a good artist, musician, and many, many more.

------

I will add that my personal ancedote played a part in my answer. As young as I can remember, I was crazy about numbers. I love numbers, I love Math. I am not exactly a math genius, I won't claim that. I am just an average guy obsessed with mathematics as a whole. After my parents found out naturally, I was allowed to go at my own pace and explore on my own. No math papers, no strict homework. The passion and love came from my own pursuits.

Then I went into exam halls and realised that the black-and-white aesthetics of equations and formal papers are a bit of a frustration. I retreated back to the visuals and videos of the channels I have aforementioned. I still love numbers, I just don't like being rigid or doing exam papers / homework on a very frequent basis.
Last edited by Valentine Z on Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:11 am, edited 4 times in total.


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Postby Sky Reavers » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:07 am

Valentine Z wrote:
There is no point knowing a ton of Trigonometry when you don't know about its real-life applications, or enjoy the elegance of it. If they are not mathematically-inclined (nothing wrong with that), let them explore other ventures! Hey, they can be a good artist, musician, and many, many more.


That. If ya' ask me, a good way to make sure someone remember something, is to explain it's practical use. Each bit of knowledge should either be useful for deduction of other bits of knowledge or in practical sense.
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Frontier Isles
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Postby Frontier Isles » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:53 pm

Kilobugya wrote:
Frontier Isles wrote:The child should work first, then play.


Play is a fundamental part of the development of a child. It's necessary for their psychological well-being, it develops creativity and creative problem-solving. Every child should be given time for them to play. It shouldn't "work first, then play" but a balance between learning and playing. And if you can do both at once, all the better, which might be the father's first failure, handing over to the child dry math problems instead of making them part of a game.

You make a good point, but how is one to determine a good balance? Anyway, the blame should fall on the father, so it's not entirely the kid's fault.


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