Being parents to school-goers can be a daunting task. With some pre-conceived notions and misconceptions we believe in, we make learning difficult for our kids. Here are some misconceptions we have listed out for all the parents to have a look at and introspect – if we are helping our kids to grow or otherwise.
1- Starting Education Early Hampers Life-Long Learning
Although there is a common thought among the parents & educationists across the nations that starting formal schooling at early age hampers life-long learning for the kids. But when we talk of education and learning, it isn’t only about formal schooling. Studies by various researchers in the field have proved that intelligence & learning abilities can be built upon by following right teaching techniques from very early age, as low as 9 months to 1 year. According to studies by Luby et al in 2013, IQ scores of children can be enhanced by instructing them in logic and critical thinking, also brain-shrinking stress in children can be protected by using sensitive and responsive techniques in parenting. Did you know, human brain develop fastest between birth and age 5 than any other time period during the entire lifespan? This is the time when the brain makes new connections and begins to maximize efficiency to keep or eliminate newly created connections. It is actually critical during this time that parents conduct educational exercises and provide continuous and repeated positive reinforcements that would help child’s brain to develop and accommodate new learning for the lifetime.
2- Educating the Child is School’s Job
As described in the previous paragraph, education or learning is a never-ending process that starts at a very early stage in our lives. Believing entirely in or relying just on formal schooling for education is the biggest misconception a parent can have. For the continuous and holistic growth of the children, the education should not start and stop within the school boundaries. In fact, children should be encouraged to learn from everyday activities. Practicing and developing social skills can be achieved by interacting with others; exposing kids to rich languages increases their vocabulary and reading abilities dramatically and we all know this can’t be achieved only by directed academic programs followed by formal schooling. It is essential for parents to encourage their children to learn through playing, hands-on activities, and exploration. This not only helps them in storing new information but also co-relate it with existing knowledge and thus develop cognitive abilities far better than gained just by relying on academic curriculum.
3- Being Excellent in Academics Bring Career Success
When we talk of teenagers, the academic pressure is not the only pressure they have to deal with. With their bodies undergoing physical & hormonal changes, they usually have to bear with constant nagging from parents about concentrating solely on academics. And this is mostly because of, one of the misconceptions that parents believe in–focusing only on and putting in efforts for academics would help their teenagers to achieve career success. However, educators, psychologists, psychiatrists and academicians have time and again proved to the world that being good solely in academics will do no good to a child. However, being average in academics and developing life skills through sports, music and other co-curricular activities help a child in shaping his/her career better. In today’s world, there is no dearth of career options and being successful in the career of one’s choice isn’t solely decided by the knowledge one gains by theories taught in school, but by the passion for excelling in same. We can see a number of examples worldwide who have proved this misconception wrong outrightly – Be it Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elton John or A.R. Rahman to name a few.
4- Comparing Students With Peers Motivate Them
I wouldn’t say this one is a complete misconception, however, it is a lack of ability to judge ‘how much is too much’ at parent’s end which makes it alarming for a child. Parents indulge themselves into pressurizing their kids for doing great in academics based on the expectations set by others in the class/neighbor. However, it is very important to understand that every kid is different and the performance in academics is directly proportional to efforts put on the student’s shortcomings rather than comparing him/her with other high-performers in the class. Comparing your kids constantly with others will only result in increased peer pressure, which they already have to deal with. Comparing your kids with others occasionally might help in motivating them at times but surely hampers their will to do more and achieve when this comparison becomes habitual.
5- Having a Lots of Friends Distract
The thought that friends always distract students from studies is one of the biggest misconception parents have. It is due to this thought that parents try to restrict the ‘friends time’ to a minimum in a day’s schedule for the school-goers. However, this is a well-studied fact that learning is enhanced when done with peers. Friends help in learning as they can relate to materials with shared experiences, peers are familiar with each other’s ability to grasp concepts, and friends can provide each other with a comfort level that can help overcome anxieties, hindrances, and discouragements. Not only the academic growth of your child is dependent on the kind of and no. of friends one has, but the ability to learn life skills is increased multi-folds with friends around. Go ahead and ease-up that strict rule for your little ones now.
Credits – google Images.
This is a widespread fact that growing children, precisely adolescents, create a lot of havoc during parenting for their parents. Does that mean, we should alienate them to make our lives easy? Should we shut them up, everytime they come up with a weird request? Or we should keep treating them as kids and never let them act mature to save ourselves of the embarrassment? Today we’ll help you with the answers to all these questions and some more to help you introspect – if you are alienating your adolescents. Also, we’ll let you know of various other healthy practices (well, all don’t this time…) that you should follow with your kids to maintain a healthy relationship and avoid resilience in their behavior.
1- Don’t Threaten or Give Physical Punishments
While your kids are growing up, they make memories that lasts for their lifetime. You don’t want your kids to carry the scars on their shoulders throughout their life – Don’t punish them physically. Also, it is adolescence when the strongest emotional bonds are build up between you & your kids, you wouldn’t want to hamper that by continuously threatening them and punish them.
2- Don’t be Inconsistent in Your Behaviour
Teenagers are newly exposed to open world and start exploring the complexities, as well as they perceive most things in black & white at this stage. If you are inconsistent in your behaviour with them, for example, if you yell at them for a particular action one day and let it go unnoticed the other day; your kids get confused and panicky and would most likely not respond to you and trust you. Try being consistent with your list of acceptables and unacceptables and clear the repercussions to be more trustworthy with your growing kids.
3- Don’t Shame Them Publically
Like mentioned in the previous pointers, your words for your kids put an everlasting impression on them. These verbal communication help them frame their self-worth and confidence. If you constantly look down upon them and verbally put them down – you can imagine the harm you’ll be doing to your kids and your relationship with them. Don’t call them by insulting names and never shame them in public, instead talk it out with them one on one.
4- Don’t Nag Them
Appreciating the goods and giving feedback on not-so-good behaviour is expected out of every parent and your kids are ready for it too. But, being constantly after them and continuously following up on the problem areas and failures actually help you cross the thin line between caring and nagging. No one likes being nagged. Especially the teenagers have a tendency to retaliate and alienate themselves from the entire family.
5- Don’t Forget to Define Rules and Boundaries Clearly
Talking things out and discussing the concerns and questions your adolescents have should be encouraged. This is a new stage in their life and they might be experiencing the social independence probably for the first time. Rather than assuming that they should know the boundaries and rules expected by the adults of the family, let them know clearly. Don’t just punish them for breaking the rules that you never made them clear of. Getting grounded or punished for something that is presumed right in their own minds will infuriate them and result in alienation.
6- Don’t Look for Substitute to Your Time
We all struggle to strike that perfect balance between work & family and fail miserably at it most of the times. At times, to maintain the lifestyle that we have created for our family, we go a little overboard with work. This absolutely doesn’t mean that you can shower your teenager with money, gifts, games or movie tickets in lieu of your family time. Looking for substitute will only weaken your bond with your adolescents.
7- Don’t Intrude in Their Private Space
Do you like being followed, or kept eyes on? I am pretty sure you won’t like it, so does your teenagers. Nothing can be worse than your own parents violating your privacy or peeking into your personal stuff. Adolescent show a strong resentment if their private diaries are read or their conversations with peer are overheard, don’t do it if you want to keep a healthy relationship with your growing ones.
8- Don’t Compare Them with Their Siblings
Teenagers undergo a lot of peer pressure already, don’t add up to it by constantly comparing them to their peer, neighbors and siblings. If you constantly compare them to their better off siblings for every small and short mistakes, the teenager’s mind cements the negativity and start retaliating. Treat them as individuals and every individual differs, don’t force them to behave like their siblings in all the aspects of life.
9- Don’t Stop Them from Taking Decisions & Learn from Them
Since your teenagers have freshly tasted the social independence, encourage them to set some rules and adhere to those to make them learn responsibility. Discuss home issues with them to know their say, involve them into as many things you can, so that they feel loved and capable of taking decisions that would be good for the entire family.
10- Don’t Hesitate to Say Sorry for Your Mistakes
The last thing to do as a parent is to keep sticking to your ego and not uttering ‘Sorry’ even after you realize you were at fault with your adolescent. It’s a powerful word and helps in reconciliation and building up the bond between you and your teenager.
We hope you are working on most of the pointers written above to keep up with changing moods and requirements of your growing kid. If not, please start following the basic rules of thumb. Start including your teenagers more in your day-to-day life so that they don’t feel alienated. Tell us the methods that worked for you best in the comment section below.
Image Credits- Google Images