In Defence of Pushy Parents

BBC Radio 4

Picked on by the media, feared by teachers, banned from touchlines on sports day – pushy parents are public enemy number one.

Self-professed pushy parent – and writer – Rosie Millard launches a spirited defence, arguing they are a much maligned force within society.

Rosie’s view is not a popular one. Some psychologists warn overbearing parenting can damage a child’s health, while some teachers argue they spend more time dealing with pushy parents than they do actually teaching. There’s no shortage of people lining up to have a pop.

With Britain’s children slipping down the international league tables, Rosie hears from controversial “Tiger-Mom” Amy Chua who explains that the hard-line East Asian parenting style instils within children discipline and focus that is lacking from many children in the West.

In Manchester, Rosie speaks to the head teacher at one of the country’s top primary schools who states that her school’s consistently excellent results would simply not be possible without its bevy of pushy parents.

Rosie argues that being a pushy parent is about more than just a child’s education, it’s also about helping your children blossom through extracurricular pursuits. At the Golders Green Rapidplay Chess Tournament, Rosie meets 9 year old chess prodigy Joshua Altman and his “hardcore chess mum” Hillary.

Pushy parents also play a vital role in spurring on youngsters for sporting successes. Paralympic gold medallist Josef Craig explains how his medal glory would have been impossible without his parents’ drive and support.

Producer: Max O’Brien

A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.